Heartland classrooms address chaos in Ferguson - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland classrooms address chaos in Ferguson

CAIRO, IL (KFVS) -

Classrooms across the Heartland addressed the chaos in Ferguson with students on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

In Cairo, some teachers remember a time when protests turned violent. Instead now, they stressed progress through peace.

"We have seen this before and we've seen this here," said teacher and Coach Ronnie Woods. "If you look at it all the destruction it is going to have an extreme long term effect for St. Louis as it had for Cairo.

He watched the footage with students and tried to make light of progress the town is finally making. Woods stressed peace is a better way.

"When protests were peaceful and legitimately you could see people changing - people and their hearts changing but you're not gonna see people's hearts changing when you've got destruction and violence," he said.

"It was just very tragic and I thought about how it destroyed the families," said sixth grade student Shania Miles.

"They went too far," said Senior, Koree Simelton. "With the burning down buildings and stuff like that that's senseless. They have to live there."

Sixth grader Essence Nesby said the display of looting and fires left her speechless.

"If I were one of those people I would have just stayed in the house," she said. "It made me sad."

With all eyes glued to the screen, students say they couldn't look away from scenes they called emotional, scary, and tragic.

"Everybody in Ferguson should change their attitude," said sixth grader, Tyshaund Taynor.

He said a better way would be an attitude for peace though positive expression.

That's the message teachers like Mary Beth Goff and Ronnie Woods hope students take away from their classroom discussion.

"One of the things I always tell my students is don't be part of the problem be part of the solution," said Goff.

Teachers broke down the effects violence could have and the facts of the case. Students say the discussion left them with a better understanding and new motivation to keep peace at home.

"Burning down buildings is not gonna bring Mike back," said Simelton.

"It is not our generation that's going to change this it's their generation," said Goff.

Students said they are more motivated to be a part of positive programs for change in Cairo. Teachers say the progress is there with several new businesses popping up and they hope the trend continues.

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