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Local schools now teaching a new generation of students learning about 9/11 through textbooks

(WBNG) — 18 years after the September 11 attacks, there is now a new set of students in schools who were not born at that time and local schools are finding the balance in teaching the tragic day.

U.S. History teachers in our local schools say it’s been an adjustment teaching a new group of students who do not know what it was like on the day of September 11, 2001.

“There’s a lot of things that are tragic throughout time and something I say in my class a lot is if we don’t remember, we forget,” said Chenango Forks Social Studies teacher, Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards along with Johnson City HS U.S. History teacher, Jim Kucko, say there is a balance to telling the details to their students, while remaining sensitive on the topic.

“When dealing with young people, I walk them through my experience when I was in a 4th grade classroom and went through my day and how I learned about what happened on that day and they kind of relate to what I was saying,” said Kucko.

Chenango Forks High School students, Giavanna Pittarelli and Bryan Shaffer, are 16 years old and were not alive when tragedy struck in New York. They say learning through their families, teachers, and videos, they feel as though they were there that day.

“I was just kind of surprised of what could happen any day and it was just kind of scary watching it all go together into a piece and having the dust cloud and just people walking in the streets trying to get away from the event safely,” said Pattarelli.

“Even if you were born before or after it…people even before it was happening were watching it through video,” said Shaffer. “Each time you watch it, it’s still horrific.”

Meanwhile their principal, Tim Simonds, shares his personal experience of teaching in Manhattan and having to evacuate 3,000 students in his school within minutes. He says sharing his own story really helps his students understand.

“I think the fact that I had a personal story and they have a connection in their principal of someone who was there, it brings it to life and makes it real for them,” said Simonds.

A new New York law mandates public schools in the state to allow a moment of silence each year to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Anne Sparaco

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