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Old 02-27-2008, 06:25 PM
 
Location: South Central PA
1,561 posts, read 2,845,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carrot juice View Post
Okay --- well, when do the schools teach about the Black Plague or the Influenza epidemic in 1918? How do they approach other topics of death and violence, or do they? I'd say there's nothing you can do, but talk to your child. He's obviously very sensitive and you are not going to win any debate with the schools. Have you talked to him about death before?

###
It dosen't seem to be the topic that is the issue (although I'm sure it's part of it, since genocide isn't really the happiest topic in the world) as much as the pictures, such as actual photographs of the piles of dead anorexic bodies.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:29 PM
 
Location: The Big D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b75 View Post
Yeah maybe if you continue to discuss what happened and let him talk about it honestly. Discuss the fact that bias and prejudice in combination with atrocities has happened however the best way to prevent it from ever occurring again is that we teach everyone what happened so they understand how horrible & wrong it was and are mindful to prevention. Perhaps if given the opportunity to discuss it further he can work through his feelings and learn even more historical information.
I think this is the more mature way to handle it. It DOES need to be taught and it SHOULD be before they get well into middle school. Why? Come middle school most kids will start polarizing by socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, etc and they do it all on their own and it almost does not matter HOW diverse the population is of the school. By teaching about these atrocities early enough to nip any of the hatred that CAN develop as they start to hit middle school it reinforces in them just how bad it is to view someone "different" and how FAR it can get carried. It needs to be something that does stick in their minds. It does need to move them on the inside and it is something that at being exposed to at a younger age it has a greater effect on them for life. In a good way.

You mentioned your child has discussed this w/ his physcologist............ I'm going to assume ( don't like to do that) that there are other underlying issues that he has dealt with or dealing with. You can bring up his own "feelings" or "issues" that he has/is dealing with and how others COULD view him as "different" and consider him an outcast along w/ all others like him. I don't know if it was mentioned in their lessons that Hitler only wanted the "blonde and blue eyed" people to be "worthy" and if not you can. Then go onto explain in a way that your son can understand that what IF the kid in his class that does not like him gets to be in some position of power someday (even one of the kids that is "looked up to" in high school and what he says goes) and this kid/person does not think anyone that has whatever kind of "issues" or "needs" should be worthy of getting an education (in real life it would be living but you might not want to go to that extreme w/ him right now). Therefore, this "esteemed" person tells everyone that looks up to him to beat up all kids/people that are "weaker". BUT, what if this kid that COULD have those natural tendencies is taught a really tough lesson early on (5th grade) about the atrocities of the world and it has a real impact on him. Trying to "reach" or change those types of thoughts and tendencies when one is in high school or even 13 & 14 is going to be A LOT HARDER!!!! Just like w/ drugs it takes early intervention to reach the kids nowadays. Sad but true.

BTW, my grandfather had a member of his church back during WWII that went over to Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and all. He was a photographer and he sent back his film to my grandfather. We have those pics and when I was a senior in high school some friends saw them at our house. Trust me in believing that these pics are FAR WORSE than any one would see in current textbook. I'm 42 yo and I saw them first as a kid probably a bit younger than your son. I can remember EVERY detail of those and it did make an impact on me to be a BETTER person. I did not have bad thoughts towards others or anything but it just ingrained more in me that my beliefs were firmly planted for the good. We have since made copies and donated them to the local Holocaust Museum here in Dallas.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:54 PM
 
337 posts, read 1,037,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marodi View Post
It dosen't seem to be the topic that is the issue (although I'm sure it's part of it, since genocide isn't really the happiest topic in the world) as much as the pictures, such as actual photographs of the piles of dead anorexic bodies.
I'm sure he'll get through it okay. He's already seen the pics. I doubt they are showing them everyday, so he's probably seen the worst.

At least he's a sensitive little guy, not a cold-hearted org. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:46 PM
 
Location: SW Durham, NC
1,014 posts, read 1,892,245 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momof2dfw View Post

BTW, my grandfather had a member of his church back during WWII that went over to Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and all. He was a photographer and he sent back his film to my grandfather. We have those pics and when I was a senior in high school some friends saw them at our house. Trust me in believing that these pics are FAR WORSE than any one would see in current textbook. I'm 42 yo and I saw them first as a kid probably a bit younger than your son. I can remember EVERY detail of those and it did make an impact on me to be a BETTER person. I did not have bad thoughts towards others or anything but it just ingrained more in me that my beliefs were firmly planted for the good. We have since made copies and donated them to the local Holocaust Museum here in Dallas.
Those pictures are very graphic, very intense. My father was in the camps and I saw those pictures over and over when I was very young and I too remember every graphic detail. Most haunting was the looks on the people's faces in the piles. It didn't help when I was a kid that we had no supervision in watching scary movies either. Nothing like you see today, but nonetheless, it added to feeled scared at night and I did have alot of nightmares.

I agree with so many others who posted, it is so important that it is taught in schools, but with sensitivity and also because so many survivors have passed on, but it through us, the children of them, who now share their stories so it will not be forgotten.

I'm sure with the help of his therapist you son will move through this...

Last edited by hula; 02-27-2008 at 09:29 PM..
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:21 PM
 
Location: The Big D
14,874 posts, read 23,002,378 times
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I just thought of this. One of the schools in our area did this and it was REALLY COOL!!!

GISD News/State Senator Florence Shapiro Addresses Memorial Preparatory School

And:
This from a local private school (Trinity Christian) about the penny drive:
Donate Pennies for the Eighth Grade Holocaust Project
2/13/2008
In conjunction with their study of the Holocaust, eighth grade History/English students from TCA are joining hands with Garland Memorial Preparatory School to collect 1.5 million pennies—one for each child killed during the Holocaust. Pennies from TCA will be added to those collected by Garland Prep. Once the goal is met, the money ($15,000) will be donated to the Dallas Holocaust Museum for its new downtown building. Please send in your pennies (unrolled) and help us with this worthwhile project. Collection jars are located in the MS Office and in each eighth grade H/E class. If you have any questions, please contact Vicki Hall.


MAYBE your son could bring something like this up in class as a way to give them something positive in light of it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
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IMO - 5th graders are not ready for graphic pictures..the concept, history, the why's and wherefors okay...pictures of the Holocaust will just let his imagination run wild. It's like letting him watch Schindler's List, or say Passion of the Christ. Just from the sheer graphic description I got of the latter, I shudder and have not watched it yet.

I hope counselling would help with the sleeplessness.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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Fifth grade is soon enough, and it needs to have the correlation made between "when you call someone names on the playground" (like gay or *** or _____ fill in what you know the kids call each other) it is not OK, because when that goes on, this is what it ends up as = the Holocaust.

I took my 3 young kids to a Holocaust exhibit and talked extensively with them about it because we are direct descendants of both Holocaust survivors and relations who died in the camps. IT NEEDS TO BE REAL. It is natural for children to cry and feel the pain so they don't continue the hatred and violence themselves, so they are not "numb" to what is still going on in the world. IT MUST BE TAUGHT, TOLD, SHOWN, and yes tears are normal.

My kids cried too when they found out the rain forest is being destroyed, when they studied beautiful animal species that are now extinct, when we went over the Trail of Tears that was part of the genocide of indigenous peoples here in the USA. Give thanks that your children have the heart to cry and be humane, that should be fostered and nurtured, so that the future world they live in can change and be different.

As long as he has understanding adults able to dialogue with him about yes this happened, and here is what we can do to see it doesn't happen again, he will be fine. Tears of grief are healthy. Pretending it didn't happen or trying to downplay the severity of it IS NOT.

Fifth grade is plenty old enough, that is age 11-12-13, we all know how cruel and bullying kids can be and pre-teens can be the worst. Watering it down or shoving it aside just makes it more likely that similar tragedies will continue to be repeated. That's not the future I want for my children and their children.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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Grief of any kind is healthy and normal for children of any age to feel, allowing it and providing healthy expression of it gives a child a strong foundation of emotional health. Kids cry and grieve from age 3, 4, 5 when pets die, when toys get broken, when best friends betray them, we don't do them service by shielding them from pain, we give them instead tools for strong healthy expression of emotion by allowing grief, pain, loss to be felt and allowed to move through our lives. It only becomes a trauma to a child when it is denied, dismissed, not allowed expression, diminished, or seen as a "bad thing." Grief left unexpressed becomes trapped in the body and creates disease, literally. When it is allowed healthy flow it moves through us and we are able to live healthy and peaceful lives, regardless of the events around us.
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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I agree that a grief/shock reaction is normal. I do think 5th gr is a little early, and it depends on the material. Too graphic at too young an age can be gratuitous and counter productive. The object is not to lose sleep, be frightened, grossed out, etc.....at least for me, it's the idea that history must not repeat itself, that man is capable of horrible things, prejudice, violence, etc.

HOWEVER: In 6th gr my child's school had two books re the Holocaust. One was "Night" by Elie Wiesel. I read this as an adult, and it was about all I could handle. I felt it was too much for a sixth grader, really. Fortunately, my child was assigned the other book, a middle school reader about Hitler Youth and a child who is coerced into joining that....which I felt was a very good, appropriate book, and which led to an independent interest in WW2 and many discussions about psychological manipulators, etc.

Too much graphic Holocaust in the way of pictures is no good at too early an age. I think it detracts from learning about the larger issues, human and political, that I think ought to be discussed.

It's usually been a no win situation for me to try to "ooch" curriculum at any school with either of my children. Sometimes, you just have to endure (barring that it's totally inappropriate or downright damaging), and make a point to "massage" the information at home...

A movie like "Diary of Anne Frank" might be something to watch, and as I recall, does not contain violent images.....more psychological. Though a tragic end, she was heroic. Schindler's List, I haven't seen, but that might be a good movie to watch together while studying the Holocaust?

I tried to ooch the information my child was getting around to human rights abuses throughout history, and in our world today. I think this has led to interest in global issues, in the end. I did notice AT THE SAME SCHOOL, my older daught did not broach these subjects until 8th grade, vs. 6th for the other one.....
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:59 PM
b75
 
951 posts, read 2,261,196 times
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I just want to say I think the level of sensitivity and empathy your son is showing is refreshing. My friend's son (who is a year older) is also very sensitive and empathetic, moreso then I've really observed before especially in a 12 year old boy. It does cause him some problems I think at times - it makes more susceptible to becoming down or depressed or to dwell on upsetting things and not bounce back as easily. But on the other hand this enables him to have an understanding and sensitivity to the world around him that many adults I don't believe have mastered. He is a truly remarkable kid and I bet your son is too.
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