We all have different ways of marking September 11. It's a good day for reflecting on gratitude and sacrifice. But for some elementary students in Texas, it was a day to draw horrific, violent pictures of the actual terrorist attack. According to parents, the teacher gave students explicit instructions to color pictures showing "the boom cloud, the planes hitting, and people jumping out of the windows," as one student put it.
Drawings included depictions of people jumping out of burning buildings, with captions like, "Help," "I love you," and, "One way ticket to heaven." Oh no -- how is this at all educational? But it gets even worse: The teacher told the children, "The Afghans did this because they hate us and want to kill all of us." This was terrifying news to one student, whose father expects to be deployed to Afghanistan at the end of the year.
What a sick, misguided 9/11 lesson for those poor kids!
Needless to say the lesson was emotionally traumatic for some of the kids. The girl whose father is headed to Afghanistan now thinks he's sure to die there. Another child left with the idea that these terrorist attacks happen every 9/11 and was afraid to leave his house the next day. The parents now want a counselor to talk with the class and put everything into context -- the context the teacher should have provided in the first place!
The teacher says it was all just part of a class discussion and the kids were drawing what they learned -- but what they learned was completely inappropriate. TMI, teacher! TMI. At least the school has issued an apology and is looking into the incident.
EPISD [El Paso Independent School District] is very concerned about the images that were drawn in response to a lesson on the events of September 11. District and campus administrators are investigating the specific assignment and are interviewing the personnel involved. We regret the insensitivity that this action may have caused and wish to assure our community that we will act swiftly in this matter and will take any and all appropriate action. We extend our sincere apologies.
You regret the insensitivity? That's putting it lightly. But of course, the kids can't un-learn all the scary images the teacher put into their heads. I think everyone in America eventually sees those photographs and hears the awful stories. It's important for kids to learn what happened that day -- in an age-appropriate way. But there's no need to traumatize them at so young an age. And the racist way the teacher painted an entire nation of people -- that's just jaw-dropping. I hope that's not what she really said, but I've heard people say some crazy things, so it wouldn't surprise me.
What would you do if your fourth-grader came home with 9/11 drawings like these?
Image via KFOXTV