POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – While many Americans can remember exactly where they were on September 11, to a new generation of students now entering high school, the planes crashing through the World Trade Center is something they’ve only read about in textbooks.
“In textbooks, online, looking at videos, watching TV shows about it, learning as much about it as I could,” said Rhys Jones, a Poland junior.
The students in Mr. Ronald Rowe’s government class at Poland Seminary High School were in diapers, just one year old, when the events on September 11 shook our country.
They don’t view it as just another historical event, though, because they’ve seen the lasting impacts it has had.
Rowe says these kids don’t know what it’s like to walk up to their gate at an airport without having to go through TSA lines.
“They’ve grown up in that America where civil liberties have been restricted to some degree and they don’t really know anything else.”
This week, his class discussed civil rights and how they have been affected by acts of terrorism. He says the most effective way to teach about 9/11 is to talk about recent events, like the shooting in Orlando, to show how they might be similar.
To get them thinking about their rights, Rowe brought up increased security at schools and federal buildings after the shootings, and then the TSA at airports after 9/11.
He says most of the students questioned why it was necessary at first, but now understand after learning more about the events.
“People didn’t really think an airplane, which is a way that people get around, could possibly be so devastating to a building or a city,” Jones said.
Rowe leaves his students with a question that most of the country is still debating today:
“We always talk about that tension between…what are you willing to give up in order to feel safe and secure, and be able to go about your day?”