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Pennsylvania schools will now be required to hold a moment of silence on the anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania schools will now be required to hold a moment of silence on the anniversary of the terror attacks that struck the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and have the option to teach their students more about the devastating day that profoundly shaped American life and politics.

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a bill into law Monday that instructs the Pennsylvania Department of Education to mandate the moment of silence and identify a model curriculum for teaching students about the significance of Sept. 11.

The bill, introduced by state Rep. Jim Haddock, D-Luzerne, in May 2023 and unanimously passed in the state House and Senate earlier this month, requires the education department to identify this curriculum within a year. The curriculum should include the historical context of terrorism and the attacks that began on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93, which ultimately crashed in Shanksville, Pa., according to the bill.

“We’re hoping that it’s taught that each person should remember the events of that day and the ramifications... this affected a global economy at that point, so the ramifications are far reaching” Haddock said in an interview.

Education should also include the United States’ recovery and response after the attacks as well as global challenges and consequences. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the terror attacks and thousands more died as a result of the two decades of war in Afghanistan that began just weeks after the attack. Among the victims who died on 9/11 were 58 Pennsylvanians, 18 of them from Bucks County.

Despite the mandated identification of this new curriculum, Pennsylvania schools — including public school districts, charter schools, cyber charter schools, or intermediate unit or tech schools — can use the materials provided on a voluntary basis.

Haddock would have personally preferred to require the education in schools, but concerns about unfunded mandates ultimately convinced him to make participation voluntary and thus, more “palatable,” he said.

Shapiro emphasized the importance of educating future generations about the terror attacks in a post on X Monday night.

“It’s on all of us to teach our shared history, because remembering ensures we never forget,” he wrote.

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