How parents, teachers are talking to kids about violence at the U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON (WPVI) -- The events that unfolded on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol were hard for adults to watch, and it was even more difficult for children who don't understand the scope of the problem.

Some of them saw the violence and just got scared.

Many local educators chose to include the chaos in the Capitol in lessons on Thursday.

"We're all feeling anxious and stressed as it relates to this," said Dr. William Hite, the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.

Dr. Hite encouraged all the teachers to have a discussion with their students.

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"We have two judicial systems. We have two systems for policing. You have a system for Black folk and a system for whites," Custis said.

"Not just hearing the thoughts of adults, but really expressing how do you feel as a result of this, and let's talk through that, and that's one of the most important things we can do as educators," said Hite.

A similar message was conveyed at the Centennial School District, where elementary school teachers were all given guidance to talk to students about how to express themselves in non-violent ways.

"When you have these feelings of nervousness or anxiety, how do you go about them in an appropriate way safe way," said Ernesto Oritz, the principal of McDonald Elementary School.

For high school students, the discussions revolved around how conflict is okay, as long as it's solved peacefully.

"Our kids are struggling with how to understand what's going on, and how to have an opinion, how to have a political opinion, and still know what's appropriate and what's not," said William Tennent High School principal Julie Henrich.

A local historian said the violence was unprecedented in America, which is why it's important to have these talks in the classroom.

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The violent takeover by Donald Trump supporters and rioters in the nation's capital has prompted lawmakers in both parties to discuss removing the president from office.

"Whether it's the Black Lives Matter protests or these electoral protests, I think you have to understand the history of that issue," said Dr. Stuart Leibiger, a professor of history and chair of the history department at La Salle University. "History, we understand the present by studying the past, the past puts the present into context for us."

Parents we spoke with said they're being honest with the young people in their lives.

"No, I'm not going to sugar coat it," said Mamie Marsh, from North Philadelphia.

Parents said it's important to make it known that violence is never the answer.

"That's how I raised my son, use your words," said Kit Godbold, from East Falls.

Teachers said having these discussions is how you move forward in classrooms in communities and hopefully as a nation.
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