While schools closer to Ground Zero have had a decade to sensitively incorporate the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks into their history curriculums, local high schools in Los Angeles have a more relaxed policy in honoring the fallen.
At Abraham Lincoln High School, in Lincoln Heights, one of about 20 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District with a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC program), students will not be viewing videos of the hijacked airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center or the reactions of residents and first responders navigating Group Zero in horror and fierce bravery that day.
Lincoln High School Principal Jesse Torres says U.S. History is taught to 11th graders and videos have not been shown for various reasons, primarily because “some may not be prepared to see that,” and the students may not yet be mature enough, he said.
“We do have an ROTC program and instructors will have the cadets fly the flag at half staff that day. The student body will also make an announcement and join in a moment of silence to commemorate the anniversary and honor the fallen,” Torres said about this Friday’s events.
Teachers and staff have received talking points and Social Studies teachers in the past have engaged students in discussion during the advisory period, he said.
Lincoln’s Victory Over Ignorance Through Culture and Education Small Learning Community (VOICE SLC) is taking the lead by providing talking points and teachable moments, Torres added.
Lincoln High’s oldest students are now 18-year-olds, but they were just 8 years old at the time of the attacks that changed the country and began the “War on Terror.”
Last year, Lincoln’s JROTC cadets participated in a ceremony to honor the fallen on 9/11, but a similar event they hoped to participate in this year was cancelled at the last minute, when according to Master Sergeant Gilberto Rosado, a JROTC supervisor, guest speakers said they were too busy preparing for ceremonies taking place on Sunday, the 10 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.
Nonetheless, the JROTC will address the terrorist attacks and the 10-year anniversary with their cadets following the talking points provided by the school, he said.
The JROTC program will follow school policy; if other students don’t view the videos on campus, neither will the cadets, he said.
“A lot of kids, 10 years ago, might not even remember how Americans came together to try to help each other …” Rosado said.
The school, like other campuses, is closed on Sunday, but will most likely fly its U.S. flag at half-staff before or after the 11th.