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How teachers are handling Capitol takeover in class

How teachers are handling Capitol takeover in class
Posted at 4:36 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 00:13:32-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — One week after the Capitol was taken over, teachers are still left to deal with the tough conversations that follow.

Frank McCormick is the Social Science Instruction Coordinator for the Sunnyside Unified School District. He says this is not the time to shy away from tough conversations about what’s happening in the world.

“If we don’t have these conversations, we won’t have a democratic republic,” he told KGUN9.

McCormick says he was in a meeting when the Capitol was taken over.

“Those images were unbelievable. It’s incredibly difficult to process events of that magnitude in real-time,” he added.

Though he says, that’s exactly what teachers had to do in order to help students make sense of what they were seeing.

“If they’re easy conversations, then we’re doing them wrong,” McCormick added.

He says there are two parts of the conversation: the first, centering on how the student is feeling.

“That’s really a dialogue about the student’s mental health, on their emotional stability,” he told KGUN9.

McCormick says the other focuses on putting current events in a historical context to facilitate dialogue while asking students to analyze sources. He says the latter will allow students to balance the information they receive before coming to a conclusion.

“Just because they see something on social media, does not make that true. Our role as educators is not to indoctrinate students with what it is that we believe. It’s to provide students with a tool kit or a way of understanding so that they can make sense of their own world,” he said.

Here’s McCormick's message to parents and teachers during this time of uncertainty.

“Kids pay attention to what we say, but they also pay attention to what we don’t say. And if we fail to talk about these issues, which are so central to the future of our democracy with the students...we’re sending an implicit message that not only do these events not matter, but their involvement with these events don’t matter-- and that is not the message we want to send,” he told KGUN9.