The eleventh anniversary of September 11th passed on Tuesday, and along with it came a strange story out of Texas involving a confused and frightened class full of fourth graders directed to draw graphic images of the events of the day despite having not even been alive to experience it.
Art therapy is not an unknown way of helping kids deal with trauma, but if the story parents are relaying is correct, the students were instructed not to illustrate their feelings about the infamous and bloody event in American history, but to specifically depict the graphic violence to which many Americans were subjected to on the tragic day, both in person and via the wall-to-wall coverage.
Parents are reporting that in one classroom of fourth-graders at Hughey Elementary in central El Paso, Texas, confused children were told about the horrors of September 11, and then ordered to draw them.
Little Ivie Gremillion — whose father is set to be deployed to Afghanistan — explains:
“We had to draw the boom cloud, the planes hitting, and people jumping out of the windows.”
Ivie describes horrors many adults still haven’t fully accepted, and the images accompanying the story show heartbreaking images of stick figures falling from windows captioned “help” and “I love you.” Gremillion’s mom feels the images themselves are objectionable enough, without the added issue of the children being forced to draw them:
“That’s something that kids should get in trouble for drawing. That’s people being murdered, committing suicide.”
According to Gremillion’s mom, a neighbor child was similarly traumatized by the assignment:
“He was under the impression this happens every 9/11, and he was scared to leave his house and go to school yesterday.”
In response to the 9/11 drawings controversy, the El Paso school district released a statement:
“EPISD is very concerned about the images that were drawn in response to a lesson on the events of September 11. District and campus administrators are investigating the specific assignment and are interviewing the personnel involved. We regret the insensitivity that this action may have caused and wish to assure our community that we will act swiftly in this matter and will take any and all appropriate action. We extend our sincere apologies.”
Do you think that as school children who are not old enough to remember 9/11 are educated, the tragedy needs to be dealt with in a more sensitive manner?