How Do We Teach Students About 9/11?

How Do We Teach Students About 9/11?

In the midst of a number of interesting debates over school curriculum in certain states, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed legislation this week ensuring that the state’s public school students would learn about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. On the eve of the 15-year anniversary of the bombing, how do we begin to teach our children about tragedy and terrorism?

Slated to be integrated into Oklahoma classrooms by the fall of 2011, the curriculum is expected to include field trips to Oklahoma City’s Memorial Museum and Outdoor Symbolic Memorial as well as opportunities to meet with families, survivors, and rescue workers touched by the tragic bombing. With the teaching of the Oklahoma City signed into law in the state, it raises some interesting questions about how we should teach children about domestic terrorism and disaster, particularly 9/11.

Last year, former New York Mayor Rudy Giulani led an event launching a school curriculum that would teach middle and high school students about the events of September 11th, 2001. One of the first 9/11 education programs, the curriculum is being tested in a number of states, including California, New Jersey, Kansas, and Illinois. But with a mountain of archival footage and documents, how do we go about teaching students about the most tragic domestic event of our time?

The subject of the actual attacks are daunting enough for students starting to come of age. But to what degree do we discuss terrorism in the classroom? The Oklahoma curriculum has so far made no mention of teaching about Timothy McVeigh's background although a curriculum being tested in New Jersey includes a discussion about the difference between “terrorists and freedom fighters” and how the rest of the world views the United States. Still a tough topic, shaping a 9/11 curriculum was a dicey political prospect as early as 2006, when Arizona incumbent Governor Janet Napolitano (now the U.S. Security of Homeland Security) was criticized by candidate Len Munsil over the issue.

For educators, there are a number of 9/11 teaching resources online that attempt to help adopt the events in history books the same way Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination were. But putting together a curriculum hasn’t been easy. The country’s largest teacher’s union, the National Education Association, was forced to remove a lesson plan about tolerance from one of its web sites after a rash of criticisms. That plan for the classroom becomes more elusive as teachers welcome students who aren’t old enough to remember the events. Now that the Texas Board of Education has approved a curriculum criticized for being too conservative, the slippery issue of 9/11 in the classroom could become even more difficult to wrangle.

Considering some teachers have come under fire for teaching students about the colonial era and slavery, it might be some time before we see a standardized nationwide curriculum regarding 9/11. Perhaps Oklahoma can set an example to be followed nationwide.

I have been

thinking, we might make more headway by handing out free dvds outside of high schools and colleges . When I was in Sanata Monica last seemed to be the younger people who are more open and eager to take the DVDs.

in doing so there is a chance to get some feed back.

Herblay FRANCE

bonjour ,
to distribute the dvd's outside the high schools also gives the advantage that you risk to see the same guys next day and get some feed back on how they found the dvd. Feed back is very helpful for the next step forward.



Good Question

I have been wondering about this for some time. How can a responsible educator teach about 9/11 when there are so many unanswered questions? They would need to be hedging on most of their statements, and venturing into potentially unpatriotic territory if their coverage is balanced and comprehensive. It seems to me that the 9/11 topic should be put on hold in the educational system until government and media break their silence and answer the unanswered questions with answers which are honest, accurate, well-investigated, scientifically sound, and believable. Conditions at the present time are nowhere close to meeting those criteria.

I looked at some of the educational references linked to by the article, and noted that (1) they were very badly out of date, and (2) they seemed to focus very much on terrorism and muslims, to the extent that they seemed to be deliberately trying to distract attention away from the events which occurred in the United States; particularly the actions of government and media in relation to 9/11.

I wrote a lesson

As a National Board Certified high school teacher of history, government and economics, here's my best shot:

The state of California requires the teaching of critical thinking skills every year. The context of courses is the "Framework" you can read online; I believe every state has such a context. My wife forbids me to express my personal analysis on this issue with students, so this opened the door to create a lesson that provides the pro-government and counter-government strongest arguments. I've done so in good faith with input from colleagues, parents, students, and good people like you. With my admonition of res ipsa loquitur (the facts speak for themselves), the historical result seems about 3/4 of students find the government explanation impossible with about 1/4 convinced I'm lying about the evidence somehow (of course, they have no factual argument because none of the facts support the government explanation).

For teachers, I recommend providing the lesson and seeking partnership BEFORE teaching it from the principal, department and parents. Open the lesson for input of best evidence and be clear that students are welcome to interpret facts and their policy positions as they choose. I use it as a supplemental lesson for critical thinking skills as a case study if students perform and get ahead of the curriculum pace to take the time to do the lesson properly (usually 6-10 hours of class time depending on student questions and interest).

Good article and great idea!

Seems to be few debunkers at the site...with little to say as usual:)

Regards John


As soon as any 9/11 curruriculum (or is it curricula?) is introduced into any school system, I hope a group of 9/11-aware parents will sue on the grounds that it is certainly illegal to teach falsehoods as fact to America’s school children. Evidence disputing the official conspiracy theory would have to be presented to determine what is and is not allowed in the lesson plans. Should be an interesting trial. Just grab a tub of popcorn and tune into Court TV.

yeah you could

one is curriculum, more than one is curricula. This would take an investment of time by the parents, but I believe any community member could act within their district (or perhaps state if/when if appears). I suggest seeing this as an education opportunity to first go to the teacher, department chair and principal to present the case and discover if partners can be won for the next step of district argument. you need some legal advice of when to threaten suit for rejection of facts and embracing lies. I also suggest "lifting the veil" with a known lie now revealed such as Operation Ajax or the 5-minutes to show the paragraph proving Ahmadinejad never physically threatened Israel in his Oct. 2005 speech.

If the district is threatened with lawsuit and they know you're serious, you'll get their attention to present your factual proof. Know the solution you want: the district probably will want to present the pro-government argument and one solution is that this is presented also WITH MATERIAL YOU PROVIDE that clearly states information and resources of what I call "counter-government" evidence.

Trail of cover-ups

Concealing from students the full story about the first WTC bombing in '93;
and the Oklahoma City bombing in '95;
and the African embassy bombings in '98;
ultimately makes it easier for peddlers of the official lies to sell their 9/11 version to those same students.

It'll be interesting to see how they manage with including the anthrax attacks in their account. Will they even mention that the spores were eventually traced to a US military lab? Or its relation to passage of the Patriot Act in Congress. One would think that they couldn't just stay silent about the anthrax terror, and will have to deal with the topic somehow.

If there was a WAC chapter in each and every college

They could divvy up a lot of the high schools in the country, between themselves, to visit and pass out literature. Not just about 911, but also info about false flag operations, in general.

This way, the 'establishment' wouldn't have exclusive control over the information that reaches kids on school grounds.

Anyone teacher who tries to

Anyone teacher who tries to indoctrinate my children with the official story about 9/11 will hear directly from me. I will make a public, unequivocal stand for 9/11 Truth and Justice.

Teaching students about what really happened on 9.11

is paramount. Most kids seem to use facebook & AE911 truth has a page with 7,700 fans. They get about 100+ new people a week.!/ae911truth?ref=ts

facebook is worth the dive

I just started and agree it's worth the investment of time to learn and use. Students are all over it; they love it. Given the younger demographics are our allies, and the unimaginable links you get, I recommend it.

That post made my morning!

That post made my morning!

here (without links) is the parts from my lesson...

showing the expert witnesses for the counter-government arguments:

9/11: Conspiracy of Terrorists or an Inside Job? In national polls from 2006, about one-third of Americans reported that 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government (here, here, here, here), while up to 84% state that our government is at least covering-up key facts of what happened. A CNN poll topped-out at 90% reporting that our government is covering-up elements of 9/11. In a 2004 Zogby poll, half of the residents of New York City reported that our government at least knew of the attacks and consciously did not prevent them, and two-thirds want a new and independent investigation. Half of victims’ family members conclude the US government was complicit in the attacks and deaths of their loved ones, according to the largest family group’s public representative.

This “9/11 Truth Movement” is growing: over 1,400 people with impressive professional backgrounds in engineering, architecture, intelligence, military, government, and various Ph.D credentials publicly refute the official explanations. Professional scientists have published literally dozens of peer-reviewed papers in argument that the three World Trade Center (WTC) buildings were destroyed by controlled demolition rather than fire-induced structural failure. Over 800 professional architects and engineers have compiled impressive visual demonstrations. Professional pilots have done the same. Professional firefighters, lawyers, medical professionals, military veterans, scholars, and religious leaders have also created organizations for "9/11 Truth."

This credible collection of expert witnesses is remarkable, with their conclusions reflected in the polling. An example of this expert testimony is Princeton professor of International Law Richard Falk, who poignantly refutes many aspects of the government’s explanation of 9/11. The rationality of this counter-government position is also reflected in the prestigious literary guide, Publisher’s Weekly, selecting a 9/11 Truth book as its “Pick of the Week” in November, 2008. In 2009, nine countries' major media published full and truthful representations of this information. There is also a growing number of government officials who refute the official explanations.

That's who they are and openings into their evidence. What they want is an independent investigation into 9/11 that considers their evidence rather than the government's self-study that they claim is a whitewash.

One point

Thanks for your comments, but I do differ about one thing: 'Conspiracy of Terrorists or an Inside Job?' How about both? To place an 'or' between those two descriptions effectively concedes to the promoters of the OCT their success in equating the word 'terrorist' exclusively with Middle Eastern Muslims. The attacks were meant to terrorize, so whoever carried them out thus qualify as 'terrorists,' whether they be from outside the US power structure (yeah, right!) or from the 'inside.' I think it's important for students to understand how wrong it is to apply that term only to groups of a certain religion or nationality.

This is similar to how I think it's also important that we not let opportunities pass to expose and attack the media's one-sided use of the term 'conspiracy.' If students today learn nothing else about 9/11, let them at least learn that the official account of 9/11 most assuredly concerns an alleged 'conspiracy.'

I am prepared

To effect the teacher who teaches lies, and the administrators of the school financially.

point taken, and...

You are correct. And, in my good faith best effort in this most challenging education project, I say we have to title our work and frame it close enough to prior knowledge in order to open a door for exploration. Washington's Blog had a great commentary recently with intentional strategy to misword/employ familiar vocabulary in our work to build a bridge to broader audiences.

Free DVD's, Classroom lectures, etc...

All of these are good. Anything at this point is better than nothing.

If I may add my two cents:

DVD's can be tossed aside and never watched. In classroom lectures can and often are forgotten the next day. But still better than nothing. Also, you may face the wrath of School Boards, etc, who may not like what you're saying about their country.

Parents are key. If you can get to the parents of students, particularly in JHS, you will have more of a chance for positive interactions, both between your students and between student and parent.

But how to get the ear of the parent? Well, if one can find a "Truther" among the parents the question may be broached at a PTA meeting. He or she may also pass out literature to back up their suggestion and depending on the response they get ask for time for deliberation before making a fnal decision. Then, parents will not feel pressured to make a decision (what might be a very difficult decision) and give them time to talk to their children about the subject.

In the classroom itself: as we all know students attention spans have shrunk drastically over the past 30 years, so traditional lecturing might not be the most effective way to go. I have found that ASKING questions is a more effective tool than just telling the story.


"How many buildings fell on 9/11?"
"Who was responsible for the attacks and why?"

Or, something I've done is to hand out a "surprise quiz" as the very beginning of the class. This is always met with laughter but can be very informing.

For example:

Multiple choice:

How many videos captured the crash at the Pentagon?
a) one
b) two
c) three
d) 84

2) Of the above-mentioned videos, how many were released by the FBI for public viewing?
a) one
b) two
c) three
d) all 84

3) Who was in charge of security at the WTC complex up until 9/11?
a) Henry Kissinger
b) Mayor Giuliani
c) Joe DiMaggio
d) Marvin Bush (the President's brother)

4) How many steel framed buildings have collapsed due to fire in history before 9/11?
a) 38
b) 111
c) 8
d) 0

etc, etc. All of this precludes that permission is given to speak to a class. That may not be so easy to obtain, sadly.

Just my two cents.

Best to all.

Fact Checking

The multiple choice quiz sounds good in principle, but please be sure to thoroughly check the facts before presenting questions or statements. For example:

3) Who was in charge of security at the WTC complex up until 9/11?
a) Henry Kissinger
b) Mayor Giuliani
c) Joe DiMaggio
d) Marvin Bush (the President's brother)

The correct answer appears to be: e) John O’Neill, took up the position of director of security at the World Trade Center on August 23rd, 2001. He died in the tower's destruction.

Marvin Bush evidently left his position as a director at Stratesec in 2000.


It's important that everyone seeking the truth about 9/11 be extremely careful to keep their facts accurate and verifiable; especially in an academic setting.

Good to see this correction

Yes, I believe it was Kroll and Associates which was in charge of security at WTC, and they're the company that hired John O'Neill; though another relevant individual to keep in mind on the question of pre 9/11 WTC security would be Jerome Hauer, who headed the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management (and who, against the advice of the NYPD, chose to base the office within the very complex that had been attacked in 1993). He may, for example, have had something to do with the selection of Kroll for the security (sic) job (I'm sure there others on this site who can answer these questions better than I right now).

As part of its work, Kroll, at some point, hired Securacom (later Stratesec) to install a new security system at the WTC, and this work had been in progess (completed perhaps?) for some time prior to 9/11. And yes, Marvin Bush was on the board of directors for this company. That does not make him 'in charge of security at the WTC.' We need to be accurate in our statements not because we are thereby misidentifying such connections as possibly relevant to the actual truth about the events of 9/11; but precisely because they ARE possibly relevant, and--together with all the other facts at our disposal--could get lost with the people we're trying to persuade if we're caught being careless in our statements.

my son was 7 years old on 9/11/01

and now he is a highschool freshman who decided on his own to do a US History presentation in class on Building 7 collapse and 9/11 Truth. We'll see how his class and teacher respond but I've already sent him the links to this discussion because there is lots of good research for him to incorporate into his multimedia presentation. He said to say thanks! And let his teacher just TRY to squelch this topic!

Loose Change guys

should make a version for the classroon. & all history & political science classes should be required to watch it & have an open discussion afterwards.

This movement has to be on the up & up.

The up and up

What makes something on the up and up? It is staggering how effectively the cover-up interests have managed to keep this movement down and out. But Churchill had it right:

"Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."
--Winston Churchill

Putting our 9/11 truth material on

film & presenting in classrooms.. is on the up & up.

putting on you-tube with cool beats.. great in the begining, but we need to take this up a notch.

Awesome !

......... Show 9/11 Mysteries to start the ball rolling. Richard Gage's How the towers fell would also be a good addition. He 's a winner just by getting his classmates to look into it for themselves. As far as his teacher goes i think a simple thought should work well here.
Is it wrong to have questions? How do we learn if we don't?

Is it wrong to have questions?

Perfectly put, thanks WISDOM.

Can you get this on film?

Preferably, followed by student and teachers' reactions, on film.

"And let his teacher just TRY to squelch this topic!"

If this teacher does try to do that, the story would make perfect material for a Russia Today story. I can imagine the anchor woman leading in to the story by recapping their most recent 9/11 truth interview with Jesse Ventura and how he was censored by HuffPo.

A new way to explain explanation

This video isn't directly related to 911, but explains why some explanations are better than others.

My eldest daughter started school this year, she is five...

I arranged a meeting with the priciple and we chatted about many issues and then I made him aware of my work and research with 9/11.

He was quite aware of the history of false flag events leading to war and had a pretty good knowledge of the truth about 9/11.

I left him with Blueprint for Truth and Nano-themite by Jones.

It was a very worthwhile thing to do! He assured me that my child would not be taught falsehoods about 9/11:) I assured him he was right;)

Regards John