.

Parent Appalled by 9/11 Lesson for Fourth Graders

Showing fourth graders graphic images of the 9/11 attacks was inappropriate, says a Lehigh Valley parent

"Teach Your Children Well."

We hope that our educators always have that in mind when they teach our children.

But educators in the Easton Area School District failed regarding how some children were taught about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America.

Yes, everyone in our country needs to know -- and never forget -- the brutal attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York City and brought our country to its knees.

Sept. 11 will always be a day on which we should mourn the loss of life and remember the devastation that shook America to its core.

But do children who are 9 or 10 years old need to watch the horrific highlights of the attack: the smoldering towers, airplanes crashing into them and people jumping to their deaths?

That's what some children watched on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 in their classroom.

And that was a major mistake. Showing those images to children - as was done in a fourth-grade class in Shawnee Elementary School - was inexcusable.

And it was inappropriate.

Do you agree? Tell us in the comments section below.

There's no need for children to see that suffering at such a young age.

And not only did they have to watch it; the students then had to write about what they saw and what it meant.

I saw what my son brought home. We were not pleased, even though he handled it well. We have explained the Sept. 11 attacks to him in a way we deemed appropriate.

But other children did not handle the lesson and its disturbing images so well. They cried in class and they had nightmares at home.

Many parents are upset about what happened but they are afraid to complain.

Sure, honoring heroes -- like firefighters, police officers and soldiers -- who rescue people and save lives is the right thing to do. Taking a moment of silence to remember those who died is the right thing to do.

Showing graphic video to a bunch of youngsters without parental consent is beyond comprehension. 

The Easton Area School District and leaders of Shawnee Elementary School owe students and parents an apology.

And they also owe us a promise: that they will teach our children well. And that they will never make a mistake like this again.

Katja Kruppe September 18, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I think by 4th grade these kids have learned about 9/11 for 4 years in a row and can handle actual images from the events. I am certain that they all have seen them in passing on TV, as every year when the date comes close, these images are all over the news again. Internet, newspapers, tv shows and news. Don't think that your kids have never seen them and most of all, don't rely on school to be the only ones to explain them. I have discussed the subject many times with my son and we've visited Ground Zero and the WTC memorial, many other children younger than 4th grade have. I do think that the parents should have been advised of this plan to show footage before hand so they could speak up or not send their child in that day. Though not one parent should have expected to send their kid off to school on 9/11 without them hearing or learning something more about it. It is this countries history and the most recent one they will still feel the effects from in their lifetime. I don't quite understand why parents would be afraid to speak up to the school if they were upset.
Mom of DnNnD September 18, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Thank you Jan, well put.
Mom of DnNnD September 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Wow, you sure made some assumptions in your post. These children will not forget what they saw in class, it will forever be ingrained in their brains. I'm sorry you may not have a good memory and things like this may easily be erased from your memory. My son was 7 years old when this happened and he still remembers every single thing about that day. Children don't forget. They may not tell you they remember, but they do.
Carmen September 18, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Sorry but I want to know how many of these parents allowed their children to watch the movie "the Hunger Games?" Violence is all over T.V. and the movies and I am appalled by how many childrren today, at a very young age, watch highly inappropriate images on T.V., movies and yes video games-what happened is history and if this is explained properly to the children I as a mother do not feel it is inappropriate-oh and by the way my children were not allowed to play violent video games or watch any violent T.V. or movies until they well well into their teenage years and could understand that what was happening on the screen was not real.
Raymond Jameson September 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM
First off let me state that 9/11 will be our generations Pearl Harbor event, "a date that will live in infamie" . But what is worse is thet by not showing the children we are not ever going to expose them to the tradgedy of that day. At what age is it appropriate? And what visions are appropriate? These will always be the questions at hand. We need to STOP SUGAR COATING the TOUGH TIMES to our children. Gov. Rendell said it best in the title of his book. "A Generation of Woosies". we need to toughen up of soon we won't be able to do anything in schools without sending home a thousand permission slips a week to get "Mommy and Daddies permission" for fear of making their children feel Uncomfortable. Lets face it people Life IS Uncomfortable and the sooner we realize and accept that we can move on !!
jet godfrey September 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Should schools stop teaching history? That is how some of these posts sound - "it's too terrible, too frightening, to be taught". It's history, recent history. Terrible, yes, frightening, of course, heartbreaking, definitely, but still recent history. I remember the day JFK was murdered, I remember the day MLK was murdered, I rememeber the Kent State killings, the Vietnam War, the Oklahoma City bombings. It was all horrible to hear about and to watch on television. But still, it was history, happening as the country and the world watched, Yes, for a child these things can be and are frightening. But instead of pitching a fit and blaming schools for teaching history, parents should take more time with their children - yes I said take more time with your kids - to listen to them, check their homework and lesson plans, see what they are learning, have discussions with your kids about whatever they want to talk about school, friends, whatever. But don't blame schools for doing what they are supposed to do - teach - history, geography, math, whatever. And don't try to tell me that your kids don't see violence, indifference, crime, depravity on television and that they don't play violent games on their computers or Xboxes and playstations. How many parents take their kids to movies like Batman, The Avengers, The Hunger Games - all rife with violence. The kids of this country are our hope and they need to know our history - warts and all.
Gayle Aquino September 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I understand wanting to teach our children about 9/11, I'm all for it. I don't agree with the sugar coating comment. As someone stated earlier, children are not short adults. My twins are 11 but come across as older, even though they are mature & can converse intelligently with adults, they are still 11 emotionally. At times they are still afraid of the dark, they still want a nightlight so the hallway isn't so creepy, & they still call me when they need to get up to use the bathroom so I can 'stand guard' at the top of the stairs. I want my children to learn about 9/11 but I don't want them to see the faces of the people who jumped from the buildings & I certainly don't want them exposed to the sound of the bodies hitting the ground. There is no educational value in that. Right now they should be worrying about whether or not they're going to make jazz band or if so & so likes them. The images in their heads should be of baseball games & the new fashion at Justice, not someone jumping out of a building to their death. I think we do need to sugar coat when we deal with children until they are emotionally ready to handle reality.. I'm 41, I watched the horror in 2001 with the rest of the country and I can assure you that I have the same horrified, helpless feelings today that I did 11 years ago when I watched it live. You can't tell me that young children could see the images of someone leaping to their death & expect them to not be affected... I know that I still am.
Gayle Aquino September 18, 2012 at 04:51 PM
@Jet... I agree with you! When I taught full time I had a sign in my office that some parents took offense to... it said 'Children don't need better teachers, they need better childhoods'. We take our twins everywhere with us, we are active in their school's PTO & band, we are coaches & officials for their baseball & swim teams, we were scout leaders for 5 years, we even would have our anniversary dinner at Chuck E Cheese so that we could all go out & have fun! We know when our children's tests are & when their homework is due, we don't allow our 11 year old twins to have Facebook or Twitter or cell phones, we are aware of what they are watching on tv & we know where they are going & what time they'll be back. Too many parents are not involved in their children's lives yet they are the first parents to complain if there is something that they don't like. I want my children to learn about 9/11, even though they were only 5 months old I don't want them to ever forget. I think that they should learn about what happened that day, I just want don't want them to see the hopelessness & total fear that is etched on the faces of those who jumped, I can't get it out of my mind & I'm 41.
Daxton September 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM
This topic is one that is going to be pressed on and on in our society because of the horrible events that happened. And that's just it, these events DID happen. The suppression of education can not be done and coddling needs to end at some point. We live in a crewel world lead by horrible people in it for the money. People need to understand that despite how graphic the images of 9/11 are there are much more horrible things occurring on this planet on a daily basis. I was in first grade when these attacks happened and i saw it with my own eyes that day on the television. You can not tell me that a fourth grader can not handle the truth when we are told to morne the loss of others and the people that helped to right that wrong. If a child is told to pledge their allegiance to a flag, and told to have a moment of silence for lost heros, then they better know what they are pledging to and what they should be mournful for. The education of this event is critical so that maybe the next generation of leaders wont make the same mistakes the current one is.
concerned citizen September 18, 2012 at 05:32 PM
There is NOTHING wrong with showing this to 4th graders. They are old enough to understand it and learn it. PERIOD! I have a 4th grade child and he knows all about this.
Gayle Aquino September 18, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I agree with what you are saying Daxton, the difference between you seeing it in first grade in 2001 & my children seeing it in 6th in 2012 is that your parents didn't have a choice as to whether or not you were exposed to watching people plunge to their death. I can't get the images out of my mind & I was 30 when it happened. Children have so little innocence left, they are being pushed to grow up too fast... I think my children *should* see the images and that they should learn about what happened... I just don't think that at this age they need to see the loss of hope & abject terror on the faces of those who jumped. It's a staggering emotion to have to deal with and some children are not emotionally ready to cope with such a tragedy.
ron September 18, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I was raised in the sixties and seventies and i enjoy talking to older people that were raised in the thirties, forties and fifties and i cant help but think that todays youth are shelterd and babied way to much. I know the world has changed and parents want to protect their kids and thats great but i think given the chance kids can handle a lot more then we think they can. I dont want to argue about at what age certain topics should be taught but we must teach history. If you want an eye opening experience ask a high school student what they know about world war two. Most of the time you will get a very short or inaccurate answer.
Repub Demo September 18, 2012 at 07:38 PM
should be taught, this is reality, life and death, stop educating the children that everybosy wins no one gets hurt and life is full of rainbows and glitter stop giving every kid on a team a trophy the pussification of the united states is sickening
emilee September 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
What is wrong with you parents of this generation?! This is history. This happened. No one should forget or NOT know of the tragedies of 9/11. It should NEVER be put LIGHTLY or taken lightly. Innocent lives were lost. People suffered, everyone. This is not something to be hush-hush about. Images, videos and articles are everywhere on the internet what's the big deal showing this in school? Young people can learn from this tragedy and love their country deeper. These "horrible" things DO happen and CAN happen and that's something even young people need to understand. How can we stand and defend our own country and show patriotism if we don't teach truth to our children? How else can you lay out TRUTH??? Go to *happy land* and watch cartoons? Paint over Truth with white lies? Protecting their fragile feelings is not going to make them better people. Life is REAL. So does 9/11. People should never forget about World War II as well and should not shy away from the truth of the horrors of it. This reaction is ridiculous. Shame on you who feel this was inappropriate. This is HISTORY.
Frank Dickman September 18, 2012 at 10:00 PM
n America we can voice our personal opinion, negative or positive. The Easton area folks are doing that. If it were done in the W/C District, I would have to support the showing. History is History, Reality is Reality. Please remember that there are those individuals that are denying that what happened in the concentration camps of WWll never happened. There are no winners concerning the current incident. God Bless,
Diana L September 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM
My (at the time) 10 year old recently adopted daughter came home a few years ago and said they had a moment of silence about 9/11 in school. She didn't really know that much about it, so I asked her what exactly she knew happened that day. She said "the towers were bombed and Muslims did it." My internal reaction was WOAH. Clearly she had heard snippets from other adults or the media and came to her own conclusion (the towers were bombed, not hit by planes and that it happened by general Muslims, not extremists). I don't have an issue with what happened in this school, because I'd rather have my child be exposed to the full truth than dangerous misinformation and assumptions from putting things together piece by piece.
ted.dobracki September 18, 2012 at 11:23 PM
The topic of 9/11 and description of what happened should definitely be covered at some point. Perhaps 4th grade is a little too early - except if only superficially. I don't think my generation covered much of any war (except US Revolution as part of state history in 4th) in school until 8th grade - though we were saturated with Audey Murphy and John Wayne movies on TV, some of which were were both accurate and a bit gory. We don't need videos of people jumping off of buildings at any age or Shindlers List. Such detail is best handled at home on the history channel or the annual replay of actual 9/11 on NBC cable with some parental supervison.
emilee September 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM
9/11 is what it was. Are you going to sugar coat the tragic event? How else are you going to tell the story of 9/11 in a sensitive way? Where innocent lives were murdered, families suffered from loss, our country's safety and freedom, violated - tell me HOW to make it any more sensitive. You sugar coat this event and you're outright dishonoring everyone that has died and mourned and every single soldier who fought for this war.
Mary Lou Lewis September 19, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I don't see anything wrong with showing students the 9-11footage. We watched Viet Nam, etc. I think these parents should grow up
Melody September 19, 2012 at 04:40 AM
I'm sorry I have not seen a video shown on news or in movies that has actually showed people jumping from the windows. Really people this is the real world and for our children we must be honest. This is history and at 11 yrs old you should be mature enough to understand that bad things do happen in the world. We were told in school when President Kennedy was shot, we seen the news from Vietnam .When are parents going to let their children grow up? Today's children might be intellectually smart,but as far as maturity way below.
Carl W September 19, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Yes, excellent point!!!
Carl W September 19, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Do we really have to keep looking at pictures of Chuckie Dent? Dent won his first election by promising $42,000.00 to local charities. Never paid a cent, no matter how much I remind him, but, that's Dent. Say anything, just to get elected ! -- Child Welfare Volunteer
Carl W September 19, 2012 at 05:36 AM
P. S. If Dent was really concerned about jobs for Americans, he wouldn't have been a major promoter of NAFTA, & CAFTA, sending jobs to Mexico & Cental America.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
The Truth September 19, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Here's the truth: This journal article was written by a journalist who DIDNT do his research and made many assumptions. I always have been a believer that VALIDITY is as important as what you write There was no contact with the teacher or principal. The video shows no, NO, NO graphic images of the horror from that day. It was created for children. Here is the video and description, so everyone knows the TRUTH. "Remembering September 11th: Holidays for Children" Teachers will welcome a program that carefully addresses the delicate issues raised by the terrorist strikes on September, 11, 2001. The program answers some of the questions of what terrorism is and why the United States was a target. It also heavily focuses on the positive acts that occurred in the days and weeks that followed 9/11/01, including the many heroic acts of bravery that so beautifully depict the American spirit, the revitalized sense of patriotism in the United States, and the increased safety measures intended to protect our nation’s airports and airplanes. The program, designed by a team of child development and educational professionals, including a child psychologist, addresses the emotional reactions that children are likely to have. 23 minutes. Closed-captioned.
Gayle Aquino September 19, 2012 at 10:17 PM
It's a shame that a person can't voice their opinion without someone making it a personal attack. My personal opinion on whether or not I feel it's appropriate for my 11 year old children to see the faces of the people who jumped has nothing to do with 'growing up'. It has everything to do with whether or not I, as a parent, feel it's appropriate. I don't shield my children from negative things or from stories about 9/11 but I do feel that it is my responsibility to not expose them to the sound of bodies hitting the ground. My children are not in the Easton SD so I was only speaking on what occurred in our district & simply voicing my opinion that a letter should be sent home IF graphic pictures were to be shown. Thank you to The Truth for pointing out that it was a program created for children. I'm glad that there is something out there that explains it for children. As to the comment that we are disrespecting the people who died, I beg to differ. I don't recall anyone saying that the event should be sugar coated. I'm saying that as a parent I don't want my children to see people dying. Children lose their innocence at such a young age. When I taught full time I had students whose parents pimped them out at the age of 7 for drugs, I had a student who was blinded as a result of a drive by shooting & I had students who sat next to their parents as they OD'd on drugs. Please don't judge me or anyone else if we choose to keep our children innocent for a little bit longer.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »