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updated: 5/3/2011 4:38 AM

Suburban schools handle bin Laden's death in variety of ways

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Suburban teachers and students addressed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden's death in a variety of ways Monday.

At Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Alan Wahlert's freshman honors world history class discussed how the U.S. military carried out the plan to kill bin Laden.

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"I spent time answering the questions of my students, and we discussed the short-term and long-term implications of what bin Laden's capture and killing would have on the U.S. in general, terrorism and war in the Middle East," Wahlert explained in an email.

The students in Stevenson High School teacher Andrew Conneen's AP American government and AP comparative government classes are preparing to take AP exams in one week, but Conneen felt bin Laden's death was significant enough to deviate from the lesson plan.

"Clearly this was an event of such magnitude that you have to talk about (it)," Conneen said in a telephone interview from the Lincolnshire school. "They came in with a ton of questions, and I felt it was my job to answer those questions based on what we know now."

Conneen asked his students how they learned of the news late Sunday. The most common responses, he said, were Facebook and the news ticker that runs during ESPN sports broadcasts.

Naperville Central High School employees and students were told they could use the morning's moment of silence to remember the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or soldiers killed around the world, said Susan E. Rice, spokeswoman for Naperville Unit District 203.

Also at Naperville Central, social studies teacher Donna Mohn took her students to a local Sept. 11 memorial.

Some schools, particularly those with younger students, dealt with the news sensitively.

In Naperville Unit District 203's elementary schools, bin Laden's death was not a subject for classroom discussions, Rice said.

"The feedback we have from our families on these types of issues is that this is a discussion they prefer to have with their child as they deem appropriate," Rice said in an email. "We recognize the various sensitivities of the children and support the parent's decision in this matter."

Students in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 were encouraged to visit a news website to understand the implications of bin Laden's death.

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