My Students Still Have Questions About the Capitol Riot. They Deserve Honest Answers

Jan. 6, 2021, is a modern lesson plan for the history left out of textbooks

On Jan. 6, 2021, I was teaching a class when I received a news alert notifying me that Vice President Mike Pence was evacuated from the U.S. Capitol because of an attack on the building. As a history teacher, I recognized the severity of the situation, and I also knew that it was vital to address this troubling saga with my students as it unraveled.

Police explode flash-grenades as a mob storms the US Capitol. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

This was the most intense attack on the Capitol since the British burned Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. The classroom discussions that day were tough; students had many pressing questions while they witnessed in real time the storming of the Capitol. As my teacher colleagues and I revisit that anniversary, the conversations are as challenging as they were in 2021—and perhaps even more necessary today.

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