As I watched the events in Washington, DC unfold yesterday, I was filled with a sense of absolute disbelief. I could not help but recall a similar feeling from September 11, 2001 – sitting in front of the television watching events that seemed more like a bad Hollywood movie than reality in America. The only difference is that 19 years after the 9/11 attacks, I am now a parent and cannot simply witness the unfolding crisis – I need to try to explain to my child what is occurring and how this could happen in the United States.
No matter your political persuasion or beliefs, violence against our most sacred institutions of government is never the answer. We are a society of laws and vigorous debate – sometimes heated and divisive. We expect and embrace disagreements among our elected officials, and we believe that these disagreements can lead us toward a more perfect union.
Public schools teach children our American history and how our struggles over the past 245 years produced the greatest democracy ever witnessed by the world. We instill in our children a sense of pride at being a part of this great American democratic experiment.
No matter what you call the events of January 6, 2021 – a riot, a protest, sedition or another term – it was a painful blow to our children’s collective sense of faith and security in the United States. Our children and students are watching and learning from this moment in history. We all have a duty to unite and work together to reassure them that America is still the “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan spoke of so eloquently. Out of this darkest moment can come a renewal of our commitment to a free society and a lesson for tomorrow’s leaders.
PSBA Chief Executive Officer