This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. While most adults have vivid memories of that infamous day, students today were not alive when those events took place and their understanding of the tragic events vary. In Turlock schools, the weeks leading up to the day will be used as an opportunity for remembrance and for students to learn more about the historic event.
9/11 is currently not part of TUSD curriculum, but it does cover the history of first responders and have discussions regarding the day.
“With the 20th anniversary approaching, students are likely to see images or videos on social media and across multiple media sources. That means children are likely to come to school and want to talk about what they’ve seen. 9/11 is not specifically part of the curriculum, especially for our youngest learners. They do cover communities and community helpers (fire, police, etc.),” said Chief Communication Coordinator at TUSD Marie Russell.
For older students they recognize the significance of the day and they will spend some time doing an activity that stimulates learning and discussions.
“Secondary students know this as a day in history and they may spend a class period in either an English class or history class reading, analyzing and annotating a poem or a primary source. This is a way to learn about the day,” said Russell.
Some students view the event as a reminder that we need to make sure Americans are protected.
“We should focus on terrorism and our national security. So, we should remember the victims of that attack,” said Pitman senior Hugh Woodruff.
While fellow Pitman High senior Christopher Van Allen believes 9/11 should be used as an opportunity to understand why these attacks happened.
“9/11 is significant for me as it symbolizes an act of terror. But when I think of 9/11, I don’t think of it alone. I think of the message it was trying to send, and perhaps to understand why they wanted to attack the United States. What planted the hatred of the United States in the first place? And how every nation does the same thing in its own right for its own nationalistic purposes. Perhaps 9/11 was a cruel act against the United States. But it was by no means an ‘evil’ act. Evil is subjectional, and there should be caution in its use,” he said.
“As a 17-year-old who was born in 2004, 9/11 has a whole different meaning. Not that this day isn’t important. I just believe that kids and teens who were born after 2001 view it in a dissimilar perspective. Growing up I never really knew what 9/11 was until about 5th or 6th grade. My teacher sat us down and told us the reason and the cause of the terrorist attack. The idea of someone hurting people because of hatred never really fully existed in my mind. Eventually we realize that as a result of this terrible attack, many American soldiers have been fighting for us in Afghanistan and therefore the youth of my time have never seen life without war,” said Pitman High senior Isabella Dominguez.
“I don’t think any of the generations post-911, will ever eventually feel the way others see this day. Many teachers have told us what they were doing and for some it's hard because they saw the images fresh from the attack. This is such an important day to me because it makes me reflect on life itself and how short it can be. I respect this day so much because so many people passed and it started something that we wish we could avoid. Yet, I truly believe that this made our country so much stronger together,” she added.