For anyone who was in high school or older 10 years ago, Sept. 11 is a day they can’t forget. Some learned about the events all at once from a newscast or article; for others, the details trickled in little by little until the whole horrible picture was complete.
The younger generation doesn’t have those memories, because they either were too young to remember Sept. 11, 2001 ,or weren’t even born, yet. They have to be taught about the events of Sept. 11, and how it has shaped our world in the last decade.
“There’s so much about it in the media, that a lot of the students come to us with some knowledge of it,” said Lisa Hyde, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Bragg Middle School. “We always stress how important it was, and tell our kids to ask their parents about what they remember.”
Jackie Cantelmo, another sixth grade social studies teacher at Bragg, said Sept. 11 has affected almost every part of social studies education, from discussions on immigration to bullying.
“It’s a constant, ongoing thing,” said Cantelmo. “We are teaching about what we are afraid of, because there’s so much fear.”
North Jefferson teachers say it’s important to make material that’s suitable for their students’ ages.
“Some students understand it better than others,” said Emily Cazola, a sixth grade English teacher at Bragg.
When it comes to elementary school students, Fultondale Elementary School principal Cynde Cornelius said it’s more about implementing the lessons learned from 9-11, and not necessarily teaching about the day, itself.
“We tend to focus on patriotism,” said Cornelius. “I’ve always been patriotic, personally, and patriotism may not be as widespread as it once was.”
Cornelius said lessons about 9-11 don’t really start until sixth grade, and one of the reasons for that is the wide variety of opinions on the subject.
“We can’t put opinions in the lessons,” she said.
Cornelius said she doesn’t think her youngest students understand the ongoing war in the Middle East, except for maybe the students who have parents participating. Even then, though, sometimes they only understand that their mothers and fathers are going to be gone.
“One student’s mother was going to Afghanistan, and she kept saying ‘my momma’s going to Afghan.’ She didn’t know how to say it right,” said Cornelius.