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To young students, 9/11 just a history lesson


As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaches, people everywhere are thinking back to their memories of that day.

But for those who can't remember — children who were either infants or not even born at the time — it can be a challenge to convey the magnitude of the event and how it changed the world.

A child born on Sept. 11, 2001, would be headed to sixth grade this year. The oldest students in Havre's public schools, the Havre High School seniors, were in second grade in 2001, when their view of the world could not accommodate the impact of that day.

One discussion about the day, happening in a Havre school, is through a video produced by Jackie Rygg's eighth-grade media class. Havre Middle School students in the class interviewed fellow students and school faculty about what happened that day, what it meant and their memories of hearing the news, for those who have them.

"It made it a little more real to them, " Rygg said. "Talking with people they know, they can kind of get a feel for what was going on.

"We got a lot out of it that we didn't really expect. It's kind of bringing history to life for them, instead of reading it in a book. "

The video is being broadcast for the whole school this afternoon. The video will also be posted on the Havre Daily News' website, http://www.havredailynews.com or the newspaper's Youtube page, at http://www.youtube.com/HavreDailyNews.

Conversations are also happening across the district in classrooms, regardless of subject matter. Dustin Kraske, middle school principal, said that he had seen Darla Cook, the middle school's choir teacher, preparing a lesson on 9/11.

Elsewhere in the district, the subject is being dealt with informally. Both Superintendent Andy Carlson and Havre High School Principal Dennis Murphy said they were not aware of any formal events, but knew that classrooms across the district would be discussing it.

For Carlson, the issue of how to talk about 9/11 with students in the right way is still fresh on his mind from when he worked for the districts under Kirk Miller, who was superintendent in Havre at the time and is now the superintendent for Bozeman's schools.

Miller recalled that morning and having the administrative staffs "immediately mobilized, " to prepare for how to deal with the situation on a school-by-school basis and to help the principals of those schools handle it. He said that the discussion of the event was limited to Havre High School at the time, in the interest of age-appropriateness.

The district went on to send a letter home to parents to explain what was done and why.

In Bozeman now, Miller and his staff have set up a collective online place for the schools to share resources for talking with students about 9/11.


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