School officials view Capitol riot as teachable moment

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published January 25, 2021

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In the wake of the U.S. Capitol breaching in Washington D.C. Jan. 6, area educators see it is a teachable moment.

Chippewa Valley Schools Superintendent Ron Roberts said he thinks a teacher’s role is to help students understand what happened.

“Part of helping kids understand it is to allow kids to speak about it,” he said. “In our society, what’s so important is kids listen to and understand diverse opinions.”

Roberts believes it’s important to students, at the appropriate age level, to speak about what happened.

“I think listening to diverse viewpoints helps people clarify their thinking and become more critical thinkers as they age, which is what we want them to do,” he said.  

Dakota High School Principal Kevin Koskos mentioned that the school’s focus is to continue its commitment to helping students develop critical thinking skills to be able to evaluate information and the happenings in the world in order to make well-informed and reasoned decisions in their lives and for their future.

“Current events in our nation right now related to the political situation in Washington undoubtedly provide a number of teachable moments for teachers as they work with our students,” Koskos said.

Roberts added that he wants students to look at the Capitol event objectively and critically.

“I think that helps make a good citizen, and I think that public education plays a critical role because that’s where our kids come together,” he said. “Those conversations can be structured there so they are invaluable for our students to develop their own thinking.”  

On Twitter the night of Jan. 6, Roberts stated that he feels confident that teachers can help students process what happened.

The morning after the chaos unfolded, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Superintendent Erik Edoff said he thinks it’s a pretty sensitive topic.

“Our approach is we react to the needs of the students,” he said. “We don’t assume what the students need to hear. I’ve not heard today that we’ve had a large number of students upset or forced to deal with this.”

Macomb Lutheran North teacher Brian Horvath posted a message to the school’s website Jan. 7 titled “Our Citizenship.”

It began by stating that people storming the Capitol was not a pretty image at all.

“Today’s chapel is not only an indictment against yesterday’s lawlessness,” he said. “It’s an indictment against yesterday and the lawlessness of the summer, as well.”

Horvath, who teaches Applied Christianity, called the chapel an indictment against lawlessness.

“It’s an indictment against the lawlessness of the last year, the last three years, the last six years, the last eight years, the last decade, the last two decades and so forth,” he said.

Horvath’s message went on to say that to think that corruption is limited to one party, or only one group of people, or limited to America, and only America, is naïve; he said people’s citizenship is not on earth but rather in heaven.

“The world is in fact, corrupt,” he said. “We are corrupt. To deny morality, or a moral basis is, well, also naïve. While we point the fingers at yesterday’s protesters or the protesters from the summer for their lawlessness, our own lawlessness gets lost.”