WESTPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a “where were you when” day…one we vow never to forget. It’s been 19 years since one of the darkest days in U.S.history: Sept. 11, 2001 — the terrorist attack claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
For boys and girls in school currently, 9/11 is history. It has to be part of American history, but is it too much to handle for our younger students already dealing with a pandemic?
Following the events of 9/11, we, as a nation, vowed to never forget. A way to ensure that is for schools to include the terrorist attacks as part of their history lessons.
Courtney Ruggiero teaches 8th-grade social studies at Bedford Middle School in Westport. She finds that unless her students have a personal connection, like a family member, they have just little “snippets” of knowledge on the subject.
Ruggiero makes a connection by telling her students not only to never forget the tragedy but to also never forget the goodness of the American citizens on that day.
“The choices you make are really important and impactful, and you can choose to be making choices that are helpful to people. That’s what people did in 9/11, and that’s what they can do now. So, I kind of felt like it was almost more relevant than ever.”
Across town, Suzanne Kammerman teaches social studies at Staples High School. She said 9/11 is such a significant part of our history and a turning point for the way in which our political society functions now, that it gets incorporated into their content throughout the year.
“In terms of COVID-19 and where we are today, it’s all part of the same conversation, which is how does a government balance the right to liberties of the people while also ensuring that there is that level of safety and order,” she explained. “It’s the exact debate we’re having today, just under slightly different circumstances.”
What can make this challenging for educators, one might think, is the lack of official guidelines. As specified by Congress, the U.S. Department of Education is barred from having a role in setting up curricula.