Students will learn about Iraq at new Oakland teach-ins

Monday November 18, 2002

OAKLAND – Students in kindergarten through 12th grade will learn about the proposed war in Iraq at 1960s-style “teach-ins,” the school board decided Wednesday night. 

School board member Dan Siegel proposed the resolution encouraging schools to set aside time to teach about the planned conflict with Iraq. Siegel led anti-Vietnam War protests as student body president at the UC Berkeley in 1969. 

Some members disagreed expressing concern about exposing children below fourth grade to atrocities of war. 

But fifth-graders from Sequoia Elementary School spoke in favor of the teach-in during the meeting and read letters they had written to Bush opposing an Iraq war. Their teacher, Betty Olson-Jones, said the students came up with the idea on their own. 

“When you go to war, you are setting a bad example for all the kids in the U.S.A.,” one letter stated. “Wars and fights are not right, and bombing beautiful things is not right either.” 

The students invited Bush to come to a weekly class at Sequoia that teaches youngsters how to resolve problems without fighting 

The teach-ins will be voluntary and open to parents.