School district helps students ‘figure out the facts’ about the U.S. Capitol riot


MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The nation’s Capitol is an iconic symbol of our country’s democracy—one that school aged students recognize from history class. Knowing this, the teaching staff and administration at Mechanicville City School District got together a plan.

“[For] our kindergarteners and our 1st graders, it’s not something that teachers brought up,” said Alyssa Sabbatino, assistant superintendent, “whereas for our 11th and 12th graders, it was part of their school day in social studies.”

Sabbatino said students were curious, but teachers had to explain it carefully, and let the facts speak for themselves.

“They want to know what happened, and then they want to know why, because of course there are perspectives of those events that are slanted by parties,” Sabbatino explained.

Above all, Sabbatino says students deserve to feel safe in the classroom. That means letting them know there wouldn’t be debates or attacks on one another for their ideas or beliefs.

“Parents and families have opinions about this, and that’s really the place, at home, for that. Our teachers, our school district, is not going to impose our opinions on our students, but rather help them form their own opinions,” Sabbatino said.

Teachers compiled articles from reputable news sources, and had discussions about headlines, language, and the difference between opinion and fact. All this, to help them navigate the events of today, and prepare for the events of tomorrow.

“We want them to do that thinking and that work on their own, and that’s real college and career readiness,” said Sabbatino, “being adept to sort and sift through news sources and figure out facts.”

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