A recent article (Herald, May 10: “Students reenacting Floyd’s arrest was ‘teachable moment,’ North Dakota principal says”) reports on the events of a Wahpeton fifth-grade class. During a lesson teaching about the happenings of the Derek Chauvin case, in which the ex-police officer was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, students conducted an impromptu reenactment of Floyds’ death. News spread of the kids' depiction, and the classroom teacher, Barb Michelson, was placed on administrative leave while the school district decided her ultimate fate.
Though some may not agree with the events that took place in Michelson’s classroom, she deserves to have her spot back in the Wahpeton School District. She did not deliberately offend or hurt anyone. This wasn’t some sort of cruel action of maliced, calculated undertaking. This was a simple lesson created to spread the wrongdoings in our society and prevent their appearance in future generations, by showing children right from wrong.
The schedule did not go according to plan; however the spur-of-the-moment demonstration was self volunteered and staged by the participants, with only the best of intentions. We have to remind ourselves, in the end, no one was harmed from this. Though some may say it scarred the children, the showing of real catastrophic events can help prevent history from repeating itself.
By informing more people on the happenings of these fatal incidents we can “start a stop;” we can prevent many of these gruesome events. For example, we have an annual showing at Central High School in which students and faculty come together to simulate a lethal car wreck. Students dress in bloodied makeup and act out the scene, laying beside the car that was actually crashed, while a speaker informs the audience what all took place during the car's destruction.
A key ingredient in life, which many of us glaze over or forget about altogether, is intent. What is the wanted outcome? In this day and age, many of us are too quick to judge the many situations we all have at hand. Whether it’s due to overstimulation, with an inconceivable amount of information at our fingertips at all times, or the overly opinionated, onto-the-next mentality of cancel culture, each and every one of us owes it to each and everyone else to do better, to have a little more empathy and compassion.
Zoie Frattin, Grand Forks Central High School