Education Week's Coverage

The atmosphere in the school was awash in worry. Students leaned against walls in the hallways and frantically tapped numbers into their cellphones. ... Some students had tears streaming down their cheeks. Others covered their faces with hands or simply looked bewildered.

—An Education Week reporter describing the scene inside a Manhattan high school on
Sept. 11, 2001

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four U.S. jetliners filled with passengers and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people. The attacks reverberated through the nation's schools. Following is Education Week's coverage of the impact on the education community that day and in the weeks that followed, part of a series called "Terror Touches Schools." Fifth-grader Alex Penland holds a candle at a vigil at the U.S. Capitol building on Sept. 12, 2001, to remember those who died the previous day.
—Allison Shelley, former Education Week Photo Editor

"Students came into class that morning looking up at me hoping I had all the answers to why this all happened. They were curious, frightened, confused and anxious."
Posted by Ellen, an elementary school teacher, on Sept. 19, 2001, in an online forum

"As the cornerstone of a democratic society, schools educate children. It is crucial that we continue in that mission."
Roy Romer, then-superintendent of the Los Angeles public schools, in a memo circulated the day of the attacks

"I want to reassure you that many people—including your family, your teachers, and your school counselor—love and care about you and are looking out for your safety."
Laura Bush, then-first lady, in a letter to students following the attacks

"I'm a little shaky about being here right now. We just don't know what else they're going to hit."
Millie Melendez, then a 17-year-old senior on returning to school at Norman Thomas High School in Midtown Manhattan

"To lose our young students and their teachers as they were expanding their educational and professional horizons is extremely painful for all of us."
Paul L. Vance, then-superintendent of the District of Columbia schools, on the deaths of six students and teachers

"I don't think many of the kids grasp the full meaning of this—I heard some students saying it looked like a Bruce Willis movie."
Thomas J. Doland, then-supervisor of school psychologists for Chesterfield schools outside Richmond, Va.

Commentaries on 9/11

Talking About Terrorism October 3, 2001

Truths of Civic Life September 11, 2002

Protecting Our Liberty September 11, 2002

Nothing Is Inevitable September 11, 2002

U.S. educators were called on to respond to an unprecedented level of destruction after the attacks, and school leaders agonized over whether to send students home or keep their buildings open.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

New York City parents and school employees focused on the safety and well-being of the children and teenagers in their care following the attacks on Sept. 11.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

Three students and three teachers from the nation's capital perished in the Sept. 11 jetliner crash into the Pentagon outside Washington.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

As adults in schools across the country struggled to come to grips with the news and sort fact from fiction, many had to make quick decisions about what was best for students.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

A reporter from Education Week, on an unrelated assignment at a magnet high school in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, describes how the school reacted to the attacks.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

Many Muslim educators and parents in the United States took extra precautions to ensure that their children wouldn't be harmed in reaction to reports that Muslims or Arabs might be responsible for the attacks.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

Schools serving the children of U.S. military personnel at home and abroad closed temporarily or took other special precautions in the wake of terrorist attacks in the United States.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

A weeklong campaign the White House had dubbed "Putting Reading First" effectively ended when terrorists attacked the U.S.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

Education-related decisions were put on hold in several states as the nation recovered.
September 19, 2001 – Education Week

We asked our readers: Where were you when the unthinkable happened? Tell us how your school and students were affected by and reacted to Tuesday's attacks. Read their responses.
September 11, 2001 – Education Week

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