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Conducting Difficult Conversations about 9/11 with Young People

This session explores how to talk to children about tragedy.

Duration: 75 minutes

Panelists included:

  • Elaine Donovan
    Pentagon Memorial Fund, Director
    Lost her husband CDR William H. Donovan in the Pentagon
  • Mary Fetchet
    Voices of September 11th, Founding Director
    Mother of Brad Fetchet, 24
  • Roberta L. Schomburg, PhD
    Associate Dean and Director
    Carlow University, School of Education
  • Hedda Sharapan
    Director of Early Childhood Initiatives
    The Fred Rogers Company

Discussion Questions:

  • When the news broke in May of Osama bin Laden’s death, Yahoo reported that searches for “Who is Osama bin Laden?” skyrocketed. Sixty-six percent of those searches came from 13- to 17-year-olds. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/10/schools-struggle-to-teac...) How do you explain to students who Osama bin Laden was?
  • How do you provide safe, validating spaces for your class to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns when students hold multiple, often contrasting view points?
  • Why were the Pentagon and World Trade Centers targeted?
  • Are we safer now? Will this happen again?