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Teaching Young Children About 9/11

URBANA-- Many Urbana students in Don Barbour's eighth-grade social studies class were one year old when the towers fell on September 11, 2001. He says many people would be surprised at how little the students know about the events of that day.

"They know some buildings got taken out by airplanes, they know that terrorism was involved, and they know Osama bin Laden had something to do with it, and that's about it. After that it gets fuzzy."

Parents of younger children often struggle to find the right way to talk about one of the most defining events in the nation's history. Andrew Ramsey says, "I told them that a lot of families have lost their members due to the tragedy and that we should mourn this day because it was very devastating to the nation, about all those lives that we lost and the building we lost as well."

Barbour says it's usually difficult for younger children to understand the complex issues surrounding the attacks, and teachers at younger levels tend to avoid talking about it in too much detail.

Barbour says, "Some teachers they pull them aside and they talk. I think a lot of people like to avoid the topic. It's not a curriccular agenda item, they don't have to teach it. I feel a sense of obligation, in that if our goal is to understand the world we have to look at this event, and let's do it in a timely fashion when everyone's talking about it."

Adam Rife reporting