by Ophelie Jacobson
The Virginia Department of Education recently posted a video on their YouTube Channel telling teachers to avoid talking about American exceptionalism while teaching about September 11, 2001.
Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson talked with University of Florida students about this video to see how students think 9/11 should be taught in the classroom.
Suggestions for lesson plans included keeping “gruesome” facts out of lesson plans avoiding discussion of who was responsible for the attacks.
One student said the curriculum avoid “avoid placing blame.”
Students also told Campus Reform that they agree that teachers shouldn’t mention or promote American exceptionalism in lessons about 9/11.
“We don’t need more nationalism in this country…we need more healthcare,” one student said. “I think they should focus on America’s faults, not how amazing we are and how we need to be superior, because we’re not.”
“In terms of propagating this idea that our nation is the best no matter what…I would agree that that should be avoided,” another student said.
Students didn’t seem to agree with the idea of American exceptionalism.
“It’s rooted in a lot of colonist and imperialist notions of how we should treat other people,” one student said.
Another student said, “I think it’s a dangerous mindset to teach young people that because I think that’s the reason why a lot of people grow up to be extremists and really nationalistic.”
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Ophelie Jacobson is a Campus Reform reporter and a junior at the University of Florida, majoring in Journalism and Political Science and minoring in Spanish. She is also the Secretary of the Florida Federation of College Republicans and President of the Network of Enlightened Women at UF.