The 9/11 attacks will be a point of classroom discussion today, but over the past 12 years the 2001 al Qaida attacks on America have been ingrained in students' year-round coursework.
At Williamsburg Community School District, a unit of a 12th grade course on social problems is focused on terrorism. In American culture classes, the attacks overlap with discussions about freedom. In seventh-grade geography classes, students who were not even born at the time of the attacks use maps to make connections between 9/11 and issues in the Middle East.
"A broad spectrum of issues are covered based on age appropriateness," high school Principal Travis Lee said.
For older students, social problem course discussions center on U.S. actions affecting the civil war in Syria, a war that pits al Qaida-linked groups and U.S.-supported moderate rebel groups, against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
"With Syria being in the news, that will come up," Lee said. "But teachers would ask questions to elicit those connections from the students."
To guide students' intellect to issues manifested in the 9/11 attacks, a Bishop Guilfoyle teacher has posted articles, photos and newspaper clippings in the school's hallways, said school spokeswoman Amanda Walker.
The documentary, "Inside 9/11: Zero Hour," is also being shown in Bishop Guilfoyle classrooms today, she said.
St. Francis University wants to foster a creative and spiritual response to the day's anniversary.
"For 9/11, we are going to remember the victims and their loved ones with special intentions at our noon Mass at the [university's] chapel tomorrow," university spokeswoman Amanda Drumm wrote in an email.
"Since 9/11 is now known as a national day of service, our Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority is facilitating our students and staff to take the Random Acts of Kindness pledge. They will be at our JFK Center all day taking pledges in the hopes that people remember this somber occasion by doing something kind for others."