How schools are teaching students about September 11th

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- For many Valley students, the September 11th attacks happened before they were born or when they were too young to remember. The challenge for parents and teachers today: how to convey the lessons of such an important and terrible time in U.S. history.

Action News visited some Clovis Unified campuses where kids of all ages marked the anniversary in different ways.

The entire student body at Clovis High gathered in the amphitheater for a 9/11 remembrance ceremony. They held a moment of silence and released balloons into the air. They also witnessed the swearing in of Air National Guard member Victoria Criado. Criado explained the significance: "The whole reason I decided to enlist in the first place was to go and fight for 9/11. And so now to re-enlist on 9/11 it's a big deal."

The lessons didn't end there. Inside his English class, Thomas Craig incorporates the 9/11 attacks into his curriculum every year. Craig says the impact can be seen everywhere: "It has affected the way we travel, it's affected our national security. I point out that we used to be able to drive up to Millerton Dam and walk across it to watch the sunset. Not since 9/11."

As the anniversary approached, Craig and his students discussed everything from conspiracy theories to personal experiences. Junior Devyn Patterson said her father was in the Navy, flying with the Blue Angels: "I have two military parents, actually what happened, my dad was in the air so 9/11 was a really big deal for my family." De'Rod Ford was glad Mr. Craig was teaching on the topic: "Since I'm having the lessons in class, I realize the significance of it, how it not only affected New York, it affected America." Fellow Junior Jamie Garcia agrees her knowledge and understanding have increased: "I knew some of it, but when we watched the videos I learned even more."

But September 11th may be harder for younger kids to comprehend. In Marnie Hutchason's 3rd and 4th grade class at Dry Creek Elementary, they focused on public servants and their bravery. Hutchason explained, "A lot of my students, they weren't born yet so they don't know and so it's for us to teach them and to let them know that tragedy united us as a country." Her brother, Fresno Fire Captain John Creasy, spoke to the class. While he talked about the lives lost - including hundreds of firefighters and first responders - he also emphasized what was gained: "What brings us all together and united? Patriotism!"
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