Communication Ideas to Help Schools Commemorate 9/11

This fall marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took place in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Memories of 9/11 are still vivid for many adults today, but current students in grades K-12 were not alive then and have no personal memories of the event.  That presents a challenge for school systems seeking to engage students in commemorating 9/11.

How Schools Commemorate 9/11

Two blue towers of light in the New York City SkylineSome schools have approached that challenge by trying to build students' awareness of 9/11 through memorial activities and lessons. Following are a few example activities:

Resources to Enhance Commemorations

Government organizations, museums and other groups have also provided resources that school systems can use to enhance their commemoration plans:

Your School PR Role in 9/11 Commemorations

School public relations professionals can help school systems  commemorate 9/11 by:

  • Asking administrators for details about their plans to recognize 9/11. Find out what is happening when in classrooms, during assemblies, at sporting events, after school, etc. If an activity is open to parents and/or the community, offer to help spread the word.
  • Compiling a list of commemoration activities in the schools and sharing the information with local news media. Reporters will be looking for opportunities to localize the national 9/11 story. Make it easy for them to find stories in your local schools.
  • Writing with empathy and compassion. Remember that for adults who lived through 9/11, certain images and words can trigger mental stress. In addition to ensuring communications about 9/11 are age-appropriate for students, be sure to not forget there may be staff and parents who don't want to relive the trauma.

To share your school system's 9/11 commemoration activities and school PR efforts with NSPRA colleagues, tag @NSPRA on Twitter,  email editorial@nspra.org or post about them on the NSPRA Connect online community forum.