DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

October 24, 2013

Parent tells board not enough done for 9/11

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — DERRY — A Derry parent believes local schools should have done more to honor the 9/11 anniversary last month.

Tracy Rose approached local school district officials to say she thought more should have been done in the district’s classrooms to observe the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks.

Rose appeared at a School Board meeting earlier this month to say children need to know the history of what happened and pay their respects.

She has children at both Grinnell Elementary and Gilbert H. Hood Middle School.

“We should not pick and choose what history is taught,” she said. “Children learn a lot about history, both good and bad.”

Honoring that day, Rose said, is a teaching opportunity every year, giving children a chance to learn about resilience, patriotism and historical events in the country.

“We should seize the opportunity to teach our youth what it truly means to be an American,” she said.

Schools did honor the day, according to superintendent Laura Nelson.

She said district schools did many things to honor the day, with each school taking its own initiative to do what staff felt was appropriate for their students and their age groups.

She listed the schools and various activities and observances teacher and staff decided were appropriate. That included moments of silence, special stories and activities, and small group sessions to talk about what happened that day and how it affects the nation today.

South Range Elementary School fifth-graders held discussions about 9/11 and were able to ask their teachers questions. Other classes read stories about the day.

Nelson said some schools decided not to do events on a large scale, based on the age of the children, many of whom were not born when the attacks took place.

“They decided not to do anything that might be traumatic for some,” she said.

Nelson said another parent sent an email aying that Pinkerton Academy could also have done more to honor the day. The high school did start the day with a flag ceremony hosted by the school’s JROTC students.

Nelson said school activities to honor 9/11 were all geared to a child’s age and level of maturity.

School Board member Dan McKenna said the day is important and should be honored, but schools should make their own decisions.

“Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling the school how to celebrate or remember (important days),” he said. “Schools remember and celebrate days differently.”