OKC National Memorial & Museum Offers Resources for Teachers To Discuss Capitol Attack

Thursday, January 7th 2021, 7:38 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

Across the state, some teachers are navigating conversations with their students about the attack on the US Capitol in Washington D.C. Wednesday.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is offering guidance to teachers. 

"If we sit silent, we're guilty,” Executive Director Kari Watkins said.  

The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum said it considers what happened yesterday to be an "insurrection" and "domestic terrorism." 

"They're strong words. Both of them are strong words. But that goes back to our Better Conversations. We've got to start using strong words. We've got to start talking the truth. Because we've danced around things for years,” Watkins said.  

As part of the "Better Conversations" program launched last year, museum leaders suggest teachers remind their students that they: 

- Are in a safe place 

- Encourage them to have Better Conversations in a respectable manner 

- Create boundaries in the classroom and encourage them to listen first, speak second, but offer their honest opinions 

Monroe Demonstration Academy teacher Chris Bigby said he carved out time in his lessons Thursday for students to watch a news clip, then discuss and write about their thoughts.  

"I just served as a facilitator, you know, setting up the conversation that we're going to be respectful and observe everybody's opinions, even if we do not agree,” Bigby said.  

Watkins said the Memorial and Museum's mission statement stands the test of time and is still just as relevant today as when family, survivors, first responders and others in the community wrote it.

It reads in part, “we can never stop instilling an understanding of the senselessness of violence, especially as a means of effecting government change. We must always convey the imperative to reject violence." 

The memorial and museum also lists discussion questions for classrooms. You can find the resources here.  

Tulsa Public Schools are also hearing from their superintendent who, in a message said right now educators “owe it to our children to be the role models they need and deserve."