California Educator

February/March 2021

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Page 45 of 63

M E R I C A W A T C H E D I N disbelief on Jan. 6 as a mob of President Trump supporters descended upon the nation's Capitol seek- ing to overthrow a legitimate presidential election and the will of the American people. Not since the War of 1812, when British forces set fire to the Capitol, had Washington been overrun with violent insurrectionists. Some of those breaking into the Capitol building — where lawmakers hid in fear of their lives — were white supremacists, wearing Nazi slogans and carrying Confederate flags. Several peo- ple died during or shortly after the mayhem. It wasn't just adults viewing these disturbing events on live TV. Students were also watching. For some educators it was a moment that could not be ignored. Students had questions and were looking to teachers for answers because they were bewildered, frightened and upset. Some won- dered whether the events in Washington were normal, since they had no basis for comparison. Raymond Lie, a social studies teacher at Giannini Middle School in San Francisco, says students were full of questions after lunch that day. Many shared that their phones had blown up with texts as the mob became increasingly violent. "ey wanted to know why people in Washington, D.C., were freaking out," says Lie, a member of United Educators of San Blink O'fanaye / Flickr Creative Commons Educators help students to process violent events threatening democracy By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Teaching an Insurrection Francisco. " They wanted to know the significance of Jan. 6 and whether such events were normal during a transition of power." He explained that the Electoral College certification process is usually a low-key event where lawmakers con- firm what voters have already decided. He shared that this year, some individuals believed President Trump's claims that election results were falsified, despite having no proof and failing to win their argument in numerous courtrooms and even before the Supreme Court. Lie showed students Hillary Clinton's 2016 concession speech, so they could understand recent events in Wash- ington were not normal. "Students asked, ' Why is Hillary Clinton telling the American people to give Donald Trump a chance to suc- ceed? Why is she wishing him good luck?' I explained that this is how it's normally done, because otherwise, chaos ensues. We discussed that the purpose of govern- ment is to provide order, and a quote by James Madison: 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary.' " We discussed that the purpose of government is to provide order, and a quote by James Madison: 'If men were angels, no government would be necessary.'" — Raymond Lie, United Educators of San Francisco A 44 Teaching & Learning

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