Press "Enter" to skip to content

From Washington, D.C., to Wyoming, to here in Southwest Ohio – see how teachers are helping students think critically about the events at the Capital

74 Million, NPR, WKRC |

How 15 Educators From Across U.S. Helped Students Make Sense of the Chaos

74 Million |

Teachers across the country faced their students Thursday with a gut-wrenching task: Talking to them about the violent insurrection that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol less than a day before.

In D.C., where the breach of the Capitol building by pro-Trump supporters falsely claiming election fraud was in teachers’ and students’ own backyards, one educator drew historical parallels to white aggression at Woolworth lunch counters. A Minnesota teacher’s class discussed the limitations of the First Amendment. Students in both a Colorado and New York City educator’s class compared Wednesday’s police reactions to those of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

“There need to be lessons, [class] discussions about what is happening right now. What led up to this,” Washington Teachers Union president Liz Davis told The 74. “Because it didn’t happen in isolation.”

The 74 interviewed teachers nationwide about how they would present Wednesday’s events and the lessons they’re hoping students take away from those discussions.

North College Hill educators talk to students about violence at U.S. Capitol

Alexa Helwig, WKRC |

Talking about Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol was a priority at a local school Thursday.

Watching everything unfold at the nation’s capital Wednesday was difficult for educators like Tim Sies. He’s the secondary campus principal at North College Hill.

“I couldn’t sleep last night. All the events were running through my head and how are my kids feeling?” he said.

Talking about controversial political topics in school presents a challenge, but Sies went in with a plan. While students are working remotely this week, he gave them a message during virtual morning announcements.

“It’s not our job to drive home any political point of view. Our job is to facilitate learning and to give kids an outlet for their feelings and gives them a voice,” Sies said.

Teachers were given resources to present the facts to students. More importantly, educators guided them through a conversation and created a space for questions.

Sies said he’s angry and knows a lot of his students and staff are too.

“I wanted to validate that it’s OK to feel this way. It’s about working through those feelings and what do we do?” he said.

North College Hill Superintendent Eugene Blalock, Jr. told Local 12:

“Unfortunately, as a black man and community leader I am dealing with some internal demons and post traumatic trauma after seeing our Capital attacked yesterday. I am Angry and I have to work through this off camera. How can angry aggressive white men attack the Capital without a single gunshot being fired to protect our elected officials, but unarmed black men are shot in the back when they are walking away from the police? We live in two Americas.”

North College Hill Superintendent Eugene Blalock, Jr.

How To Talk To Kids About The Riots At The U.S. Capitol

Anya Kamenentz, NPR |

Teachers around the country turned out a vast range of classroom resources, literally overnight, to address students’ questions and feelings. Many of those resources include images, tweets and memes, and give guidance for talking about the role of white supremacy in Wednesday’s violence.

By Thursday morning, there were guides from the education nonprofit Facing History and OurselvesPBS NewsHour Extra and the New York City Department of Education. The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, at the University of Michigan, shared a guide for discussing difficult or high-stakes topics. Michigan State University education professor Alyssa Dunn collected social justice and trauma-informed tips for teachers.

Skip to content