An inside look at teaching 9/11 in local schools 18 years after terrorist attacks

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- As communities across the country remember those who died during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, local students who were not alive when it happened were learning about that horrific day as history.

On Wednesday, A different tone was felt in classrooms in Washington County, Tennessee.

“This morning, I stopped class and I said, ‘Okay the first plane has hit,’ and it was a solemn moment for the classroom, and a little bit later, I said, ‘okay the second one has hit, and now the buildings have fallen,’ and that was very real to those students,” said Grandview Elementary’s Stephanie Williams, who is a 5th grade ELA teacher.

At Grandview Elementary, Williams’ 5th grade has been reading The Red Bandana leading up to 9/11.

On Wednesday, they had an ‘age-appropriate’ lesson discussing the day.

“In those days,” said Williams, “that wasn’t something that was even a reality, that wasn’t something that you would even fathom happening, but sadly to these kids they’re like, ‘why didn’t people think that way?'”

One student even took the initiative to write a report before presenting it to the class.

“I though that it would be cool if I could type a little essay about it,” said 5th grader Max Sander. “I got some pictures too and I glued the pictures on the papers and stapled them together.”

At Sulphur Springs School, Emily Clark’s social studies class was given an oral history project where students were assigned to talk with their family members, friends, and others who were alive on September 11, 2001.

Ms. Clark also shared her experience that day.

“It was awful quiet in there,” said 7th grader Sam Redd.

“It was a very touching subject,” said student Calyssa Scott, “especially for Ms. Clark because she actually got to experience everything that was happening.”

Clark hoped to also teach students a valuable lesson.

“Even though horrific things happen, we come together,” she said. “It unifies us and we can work through those situations.”

Washington County, Tennessee schools will continue to have lessons taught on September 11, 2001 in the years to come

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