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Educators discuss talking to students about the U.S. Capitol breach

News 19 reached out to several Midlands school districts to see how students are coping after Wednesday's events.
Credit: WLTX

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — South Carolina educators are discussing how to talk with students about the violence at the U.S. Capitol. 

The videos and images from the U.S. Capitol breach could be traumatizing and misleading for many, especially students. News 19 reached out to several Midlands school districts to see how teachers are discussing these events with students.

Albert Robertson is the social studies coordinator for the Lexington One School District. He was shocked by Wednesday's events. 

"The capitol building has not been breached since the war of 1812," said Albert Robertson. "I was like, what is going on?"

Robertson says teachers and students should look at the evidence to determine what happened.

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"We want to make sure we give students an outlet, space, and the time to have that conversation. If we don't teach them to have these conversations from Kindergarten through 12th Grade, we can't expect them to have those conversations as adults," Robertson said. 

Patrick Kelly is an AP Civics teacher at Blythewood High School. He says instead of telling his students what happened, he let them ask questions on what may have caused it.

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"Shock is where I started," explained Patrick Kelly. "Then to sadness, which ultimately turned into turned anger. It took a lot of time to process what I saw to get to the point where I could start intellectually approach what was happening with my students."

According to Robertson, many educators have decided that it's essential to 'unpack' the event in a classroom setting to gauge what a student's response is. 

"Because in some cases, a student can turn their screen off, and you don't want that to be a traumatic experience for them," he said. 

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Along with allowing students the space to ask questions, Kelly says he also gave his students tips when coming across misinformation.

"Put the burden of proof on the person making a claim," said Kelly. "That's what our standards are in South Carolina do all of the time. We tell students to support claims with evidence. They can't write any opinion without supporting evidence; well, that's also part of the democratic process. IF you're going to make a claim or allegation, you better be able to prove it."

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