News 12 This Morning at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, May 4, 2011
FORT GORDON, Ga.---As the story of Osama Bin Laden's demise unfolds this week right before our eyes, many classrooms are talking about his death.
We visited a group of eighth graders from Freedom Park Elementary school. They have lived most of their lives while our country has been at war. Most of the students were toddlers on 9/11. But they're deeply connected to the headlines in the Middle East. Often their parents are the ones deployed overseas fighting against terrorism.
"September 11th wasn't a day in history for them," said teacher Danielle Gonzalez. "It was a fact of life."
This week Ms. Gonzalez introduced a new lesson to her students. "The last two days I learned the Navy killed Osama," explained Tristan Mize, "My mom told me and I was like 'That's cool.'"
In Ms. Gonzalez' English class, current events have taken center stage. She's started discussions with students about their thoughts and feelings toward bin Laden's death.
Dylan Winas said, "I didn't know who Osama bin Laden was until two days ago."
"Part of me was relieved. I knew a person who was responsible for so many lives was finally dead," shared David Kinely. The past few years have inspired him to join the military like his dad and track terrorists. "My dad tells me a lot about it, because he was over there a year ago. He says how it affected them on base."
Students like Corey Harris are wondering about the evil that drove the world's most wanted terrorist to kill thousands. "I don't fully understand it to be honest," said Harris.
"I don't think I grasp it, but I understand a little bit," said another student.
Ms. Gonzalez advises, "Speak to your students, speak to your children. Let them know what's going on."
There are questions about the future. Questions many adults probably have too.
"We've talked about what's going to change, what's going to happen with him dead," said Harris.
"Now I'm kind of scared because there is more of a threat," said Mize.
A threat that's led to more security checks outside the post, while inside the walls of Freedom Park students learn a new lesson without the help of their textbook.
Ms. Gonzalez says to discuss the events with your children. Give them background information and start from the beginning to help them understand the scope of this event.