WASHINGTON (WDVM) — As students in Washington, D.C., went to school Thursday, it was inevitable that teachers would have to address the topic of the U.S. Capitol breach with them.
Collin Radix-Carter is a D.C. public schools preschool teacher at Mann Elementary, just 10 miles away from the Capitol. He said he focused on making sure children felt safe.
“The big thing is that I wanted to make sure our children knew that we are keeping them safe,” he said. “From our mayor and our teachers and our school and your families, we just want to make sure that you feel safe.”
Radix-Carter said he began by asking if his students knew why there was a curfew, and some responded by saying they knew there was something happening at the Capitol. For the students who didn’t know what had happened, he explained.
“There were people there who were very upset that Trump is no longer going to be president, they don’t want Joe Biden to be president and they wanted to show their anger to our leaders,” Radix-Carter said.
In their classrooms, teachers have been discussing feelings, using the Capitol incident as a way to talk about anger.
“We’ve been talking to them about how to resolve anger in more appropriate ways, so using that as a bridge to kind of figure out, you know, it is okay to be angry, but the way that the protesters were showing their anger was not appropriate,” Radix-Carter said.
Radix-Carter advised parents not to shield children from events entirely but to explain key concepts after figuring out what they already might know. He said it could be doing children a disservice if they are unaware of events and how they could have been handled differently.
“Just begin by asking the children what they know about certain things that they might have seen or heard and then kind of go from there, have it be more of a conversation where the children are taking the lead and you’re just facilitating that discussion with them,” he said.
However, he said, it all depends on the parent’s comfort level.