Two decades later, most schools aren’t required to teach students about 9/11

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik 'stunned' by schools' failure: “Nobody should forget what happened that day.”

Updated: September 11, 2022 - 7:39am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Just two decades after the worst terror attack in U.S. history, most school districts in America are not required to teach about the events for Sept. 11. And that has some prominent figures vowing to force change.

"I am stunned that our kids today are not taught about Sept. 11," Bernie Kerik, New York City Police Commissioner during the deadly terror attacks, said Friday on the "Just the News, Not Noise" television show. "People people sort of put it behind them."

According to CBS, only 14 states are required to teach 9/11 in their curriculum, while states such as California are not required to. 

"The bottom line is the most devastating battleground in the history of the United States, probably one of them, is Ground Zero, where 3,000 people died on the morning of September 11," said Kerik. "Innocent people died on Sept. 11. You know what? Nobody should forget what happened that day. And I'm stunned that schools around the country are not educating our youth to let them know what happened."

To help educate children about what happened on 9/11, Tunnel to Towers founder Frank Siller started a curriculum based on the attacks for kids K-12. 

Siller started the foundation in memory of his little brother, who was one of the firefighters who died going to save others on 9/11.

"Just two days ago, we made an announcement that we have now the Tunnel to Towers 9/11 Institute, where we built a curriculum for ages K-12, that we are going to get it out in all the schools across the country to make sure that they're teaching the story of 9/11," Siller said on "Just the News, Not Noise."

"Not just about my brother, but about the 343 firefighters, the 60-plus police officers, and the 2,977 lives that were taken from us that day," Swiller said. "Those stories have to be told, because we must never forget."

Gordon Felt, President of Families of Flight 93, said that young people who may not have been alive during 9/11 have questions about it, and it's important that those questions are answered. Gordon's brother was one of the passengers who died on United Flight 93 when it crashed in Shanksville, Pa.

Many school groups come to the Flight 93 Memorial — and the kids come with questions, according to Gordon. 

"We still get thousands of people every year out to the memorial," Felt told "Just the News, Not Noise." "That's encouraging. And a lot of the people are school groups. We are right on the highway for school groups going from the Midwest, from Ohio, from western Pennsylvania, to Washington, DC."

"The young ones come with questions," he continued. "Those of us that survived September 11 want to talk about our experiences. They want to talk about where they were, and they want to relate to the day. So it's our job not only to tell the story, but also to listen to the stories of people that are coming to us to have their own memories that they want to keep alive in their hearts."