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Arkansas educators use Capitol breach as a teaching moment

"Students may not realize this actually is history and you're a part of history. You are a part of something that will be in history books when you have children."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — While the whole nation watched what unfolded on Wednesday, some of the youngest eyes are still having to process what exactly they saw on TV.

Several educators in Arkansas used the historic day of violence as a teaching moment. 

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"The moment they broke in and people were parading the area, I'm like, I have to bring this up. This has to be the subject of the topic today," Sylvan Hills High School teacher Glennon Bobo said.

It didn't take long for Arkansas educators, like Bobo, to realize that lesson plans may need to change after the nation watched something we've never seen before. 

Sylvan Hills High School teacher Tony Howard said this shows how social studies can be used in people's every day lives.

"Students may not realize this actually is history and you're a part of history. You are a part of something that will be in history books when you have children," he said. 

On Thursday, Howard asked his students to compare and contrast, based on their own experiences, the federal government's response to events that have recently unfolded on the Capitol steps.

"I told them they only needed to write seven sentences and some of them wrote like an entire page," he said. 

Howard questioning them on whether not they believe Wednesday's event brought the nation closer together or even farther apart. 

"I wanted them to understand that, other people's past are very important to try to understand, even if you don't agree with it," he said.

Inside the same building as Howard, Civics and Econ teacher Glennon Bobo was having a similar discussion.

"Our students need to talk about this, you have to talk about things that are uncomfortable to talk about," he said.

Bobo said he came in and felt the "vibe" of the room, knowing it was going to be brought up by his students.

"I was waiting on them to come in and voice their opinion towards me and that in itself ignited the conversation like, 'Hey coach, what do you think about what happened yesterday?'" he said.

Kiley Simms knew, as principal of Hot Springs World Class High School, she wouldn't be the one inside the classroom talking about this with students. 

That's why she decided to send out an email encouraging her staff to offer up discussion and reflection.

RELATED: Capitol chaos: Pro-Trump rallies turn to insurrection leaving 4 dead

"I just wanted to make sure teachers had some tools, if they needed them, to be confident in helping students navigate this really scary, interesting, whatever you want to call it time," Simms said.

Every teacher is hoping their students learned something beyond the curriculum.

"It's a lot to process, so we just always want our students to be inquisitive and ask questions," Simms said.

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