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IU political science director: How educators can best discuss the Capitol insurrection with students

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Today marks one year since a mob stormed the U.S Capitol building in the deadly insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.

Indiana University’s Director of Political Science Steven Webster told News 8 that the event is part of U.S history, whether we like it or not — and that should be reinforced to students.

The director mentioned it’s almost hard to not discuss the riot on Capitol Hill when discussing politics, adding that talking about it could resolve anger and divisiveness between political parties.

“The quality of our democracy has been diminished. Increasingly we see that Americans are less committed to some key democratic norms and values. We see those with whom we disagree with as political opponents rather than people who just simply have different beliefs than ourselves,” said Webster.

Webster said he’s brought up the event to students during a congress class last semester, and the conversation will be discussed again in an elections and voting class this semester.

He feels students should know about what happened as long as it’s being taught rationally, logically and impartially, despite the fact that the subject might uncomfortable to teach given each student’s political beliefs.

“It would be hard to imagine a world where future history textbooks do not discuss Jan. 6 of last year,” said Webster. “I think this is both a symptom of where are politics is going and, in some ways, it’s sort of a glimpse into the future of our political system.”

Webster encourages students who may feel angry about the events leading up to Jan. 6 to get involved in the political process, like registering to vote.