Public schools across the country are quickly responding to Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol by offering “emotional support” for students and teaching vocabulary words such as “insurrection” and “sedition.”
Ally Stanton, a kindergarten teacher in Needham, Massachusetts, told 25 News:
I had a lot of students coming in this morning saying things such as Mommy and Daddy were watching a lot of news, bad guys got into the White House, there were bad people that were trying to hurt others in Washington. A lot of them were really concerned because they know that people shouldn’t be breaking into buildings… that it’s just not normal for them.
Boston-area school districts’ “regular lesson plans were either pushed aside or modified to include discussions about the demonstration against the presidential election that turned into a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol,” the news station reported.
Diana Cross, a middle school English teacher, refused to call it a “protest.”
“It wasn’t just an articulation that there’s an injustice happening. It was violent and it was chaotic. As I said to my students, several words you could use: an insurrection, a riot. We talked about the word ‘coup’ and we also talked about ‘sedition,’” she said.
Meanwhile, in New York, students at Pawling High School asked questions like, “Why (did President Donald Trump) start off his speech with how he understood why they were doing it and continue to make false claims about how the election was stolen?” and “Do you think there will be a civil war?” according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Teachers used “recent training in the wake of racial justice protests seen over the summer and fall” to talk to students about what happened Wednesday.
“Pine Plains Superintendent Martin Handler likened the emotional impact of Wednesday to the 9/11 attacks,” the paper reported.
The New York State United Teachers — the teachers union — provided lesson plans with schools “focusing on how to explain democracy and creating a space for students to express how they are feeling.”
Schools shared resources for “self-care” and included “recommendations for conversations on difficult topics and coping with trauma.”
Handler said “emotional support” was available to students and teachers.
Some students immediately saw it through a racial lens.
“My immediate reaction to everything was just how there’s an incredible double standard regarding protests,” Pawling High School Junior Devin Clowry told the Journal.
“BLM protesters are tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets for genuinely peaceful protests, but when white men want to scale the capitol building, they are met with no resistance. In my eyes, this was nothing short of a terrorist attack.”
A teacher from Burlington, Wisconsin, who told his students he would be traveling to Washington to attend the #StoptheSteal rally, was placed on “administrative leave.”
“I am sorry; but standing up for election integrity and our right to vote in FAIR elections is too important for me to NOT be there,” an email Taff allegedly wrote to students said, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
Despite no evidence that he participated in any protest near or in the Capitol, Jeff Taff was nonetheless removed from the classroom.
Taff also allegedly share a YouTube video featuring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani discussing allegations of vote fraud.
“I couldn’t believe it. It’s completely inappropriate,” Burlington parent Jon Phetteplace told the paper.
“You’re there to teach. You’re not there to indoctrinate, especially with something that is not fact.”
The Journal-Sentinel reported Taff was placed on leave before the school district spoke to him.