A Teachable Moment: “Adults, we have such a hard time having these conversations…” This story was published and aired on St. Louis Public Radio on October 15, 2014, and features interviews with Vincent Flewellen, teacher at Ladue Middle School, and students in his Multi-Cultural Studies class.
Students were enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation when mass demonstrations erupted in Ferguson following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown on Aug 9.
As the first day of school approached – or in the case of the Ferguson-Florissant School district, was delayed by nearly a week and a half – educators near the epicenter of protests took crash courses in crisis management and administrators gathered extra mental-health services.
Yet as the months have passed and teachers have gotten to know their students, the focus has started to shift in classrooms both near and away from Ferguson.
“There’s no question that going forward, in recent weeks, teachers and schools have been talking about what’s going on, talking about the issues, allowing kids to interact about (Ferguson) from a scholarly and intellectual point of view,” said Missouri’s Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro.