The Virginia Department of Education hosted a webinar last week, instructing educators on how to teach the history of September 11th, 2001. The webinar, presented by Amaarah DeCuir, a professorial lecturer in the School of Education at American University, urged instructors to center their lesson plans on the “social, emotional needs of Muslim students,” and discouraged them from providing details regarding the terrorist attacks, as they are “harmful and damaging to the needs of our students.”

She began by targeting American exceptionalism, warning educators to steer clear of teaching it.

“We’re also not going to reproduce what’s understood as American exceptionalism. This understanding that America is a land at the top of a beautiful mountain and that all other countries, nations, and people are less than America,” she said.

The webinar, titled “Culturally Responsive and Inclusive 9/11 Commemoration,” was a part of the Ed Equity Webinar Series put on by VDOE. DeCuir kicked off the lecture by stating the “Ins” and “Outs” of 9/11 commemoration.

She informed listeners “We’re not going to reproduce notions that American history and American experiences are more significant than the experiences or histories of other people.”

She further added “It’s not about memorializing how many lives were lost.” According to DeCuir, revisiting these deaths is “harmful and damaging.”

“You name what happened and that’s it,” said DeCuir, adding that “there’s no need to further describe it, embellish it, name them, provide details; That’s not relevant.”

“We are not going to reproduce a false assumption of Muslim responsibility for 9/11,” she continued. “There is no responsibility and therefore we’re not going to use this space to try and untangle that.”

DeCuir concluded the lecture by stating that “Teaching is a political act.”

It’s very clear that we cannot rely on our schools or teachers to teach the history of 9/11 to its full extent, or even scratch the surface. That’s why we must take this education into our own hands. Since 2003, Young America’s Foundation has worked with students across the country through the 9/11: Never Forget Project to organize memorials for those murdered by Islamic terrorists on 9/11. At each participating school, 2,977 flags are displayed, one for each life lost, and students are encouraged to hold a moment of silence or prayer at 9:11 am on 9/11. Since the project’s inception, students across the country have planted more than 12 million flags. On the 20thanniversary, when teachers refuse to remember, these students will.