This year 6th grade students read and studied Afghanistan, and discussed their opinions in mini Harkness or class-driven discussion. The below letter summarizes the results of these discussions to send to President Obama. “Creating the letter helped students to see that their informed opinions matter,” says English teacher Debby Neely.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
February 5, 2014
Dear President Obama,
My class has recently studied the causes of American involvement in Afghanistan, the Taliban, and what life is like for children of war in Afghanistan. We are the sixth grade class at Moses Brown School. We also read a novel The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, about the effects of the Taliban rule on children and families in Afghanistan.
We had four class–driven discussions based on our knowledge about whether or not the United States should still be in Afghanistan. I will say that the results of those discussions show that we are quite divided on the issue. William said, “There is no reason for us to stay. We have avenged 9/11, and it is impossible to eradicate Al Queda. Our troops have suffered and given enough.” Conversely, Sarah said, “We should be at war against the terrible things the Taliban have done. They don’t even treat women like they are people.”
As we are a Quaker school, we had many voices offering Karl and Julia’s perspective: Karl: “Our troops should be helping the Afghanis start a new life.” And Julia: “We shouldn’t stay to fight but we should stay to help people.”
Delphine added, “We should compromise and not sink to the level of the Taliban by having drones kill innocent women and children.” Harry suggested an alliance with the Taliban. And David added, “Let’s not contribute to a never–ending cycle of death.”
We hope our opinions in the sixth grade at Moses Brown help inform a more peaceful, helpful solution to the problems of those suffering in Afghanistan.
We wish we could do more to help the children suffering there and our study has made us realize how very fortunate we are.
Sixth Grade English teacher and adviser