School Climate & Safety

First Lady: Teachers Need Help

September 26, 2001 1 min read

First lady Laura Bush is asking the public to nurture America’s educators as they continue to work overtime, soothing children and parents who have lost loved ones, witnessed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks firsthand, or are otherwise feeling the emotional impact of the events this month.

“I think teachers are in a really very, very hard position,” Mrs. Bush told the television talk-show host Oprah Winfrey last week.

“They are suffering exactly the same emotions as we are, the same sadness, the same confusion, the same feelings of insecurity, and they’re taking care of our children.”

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Mrs. Bush, a one-time teacher and school librarian, appeared on the television show to discuss, in part, the impact of the crisis on schoolchildren, their families, and educators.

The first lady suggested that families take food to their children’s teachers, craft activities for use in the classroom as necessary, or help schools provide counselors.

All educators will have different reactions to the crisis and different needs in their classrooms, said Jamie Horwitz, a spokesman for the American Federation of Teachers, whose local affiliate represents New York City teachers.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all recommendation,” Mr. Horwitz said.

—Julie Blair

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