Monday, May 9, 2011

Discussing the Death of Osama bin Laden with High Schoolers

It can be difficult for us as parents and teachers to know how to approach emotional but potentially controversial current events, such as the recent raid and death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, with our middle schoolers and teenagers.  However, at least in the case of the Osama bin Laden case, the White House has some online resources to help us out.

On May 5, 2011, the White House sponsored a webinar on this topic for middle school and high school students.  The person officiating the event was Ben Rhodes, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor.  Rhodes spent 10 minutes of the 30 minute webinar giving the White House perspective on the history and reasons why President Obama felt this course was necessary, and giving some fact about the attack itself.  Rhodes then spent the next 20 minutes answering questions from the 1,700 inquiries sent him by middle and high school students.

I think Rhodes did a good job presenting the Administration's perspective in a pretty straight-forward way, and his responses answer a lot of questions that may be in your children's minds, even if they can't verbalize them.  So I think this can be a useful resource in discussing this issue with them.  While the webinar is obviously over, you can access the recordings at the Discovery Education website under the heading A Discussion on Osama bin Laden.

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