- Students at West Wendover (NV) Junior/Senior High School in Nevada are taught about the Second Amendment in their U.S. government class by being expected to back opinions with facts and legal points. Speaking civilly to each other is also required.
- Education Week spent time in teacher Kathy Durham’s classroom listening to 12th graders discuss the right to bear arms. All the students came with different firearm experiences and perspectives: some had gone hunting with their family, while others lived in families where guns are not allowed.
- The class culminates with students writing letters to legislators about proposals they’ve designed themselves on how to change current gun laws.
When bringing up sensitive topics such as gun rights in school, educators often feel a need to tread lightly, particularly if they’re in communities where these topics are a hot button or emotionally charged issue. Tapping into tools that are normally adopted for social-emotional learning curriculum, such as collaboration, empathy and critical thinking, could help teachers work these subjects into classroom discussions and activities with better outcomes.
In some states, schools are mandated to dive into topics that are sensitive and potentially controversial. California, for example, requires that schools talk about sex trafficking with their students — it’s the law. Students are taught not just about trafficking as a whole, but also how to look for the signs of it, reports District Administration.
Avoiding subjects because they’re controversial is something that happens in schools, but it doesn't have to. Students need to learn core subjects like math and reading to succeed in school and in life, but they also need the skill to articulate themselves no matter the topic, or their surroundings.