Katrina Eaton felt the emotions of her 12-year-old son Isaac's voice as she came home and shared what she had learned at school.
Her teachers at Carver Middle School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, had taught that day about the city's massacre a hundred years ago, when a white mob descended on the Tulsa area in Black Greenwood, killed many people, destroyed many successful businesses and left thousands homeless. .
The order was also a lesson for Eaton.
"I mean, I've learned a lot because of what his school taught him," said Eaton, a white man. "We should all be talking about the facts and what happened in the past."
A 107-year-old survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre is appealing to the U.S. To approve the 1921 event
MAY 19, 202103: 19
As the nation prepares next week to mark the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the 1921 Tulsa race - considered one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the country's history - Oklahoma schools are aiming to ensure citizens grow up aware of the tragedy. The effort has been face-to-face after what many say has been years of peace or insufficient education on the topic.
"We have to teach this and deal with the evils of what I believe we have been very ashamed to talk about in the past," said Joy Hofmeister, head of the state Department of Education. "We cannot turn our backs on the truth."
Hofmeister said he grew up in Tulsa and did not learn about the massacre until he was an adult.
The state has included the Tulsa massacre as part of its curriculum since 2002, but the standards have not dictated what teachers should teach and how they should teach, resulting in less time, if any, being spent on the topic.
The Department of Education has since also provided additional resources to assist teachers in passing lessons.
Sam Dester taught the genocide of 11th graders in U.S. history and U.S. history at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs this year.
He said he needed students to look after accounts and photos, such as writing from the American Red Cross and other organizations that were low. He then asked them to share their common thoughts, feelings and responses.
"If you look at these pictures that look like Europe after World War II, I mean, these are just shell structures," he said. "Then they start thinking to themselves that you can just jump off the highway and be there in five minutes - something like a big shock."
He supports the teaching of school killings and gives teachers incentives to do so as part of state standards.
"I mean, the last thing you do when you take on world history is that you might be like a matriculant. Your whole life," he said. "And so whenever this history is confirmed to you, it is very important."
Melani Ford did not hesitate to teach her kindergarten students about Greenwood this school year at Cleveland Bailey Elementary School in Midwest City. He told them that long ago in Tulsa, there was a town where some people burned it
But he said for younger students, adults can start by giving a broad view of what happened and saying, "We're still happy about it."
"History is not always good, but we need to know what happened and why it happened and know that we can do better," he said. "To understand that, yes, there was a group of people who did that, and we need to make sure we don't repeat ourselves, I think it's important to learn, no matter the age."
But there is concern that some progress in teaching a complete version of the state's history could be erased.
"Now more than ever, we need policies that bring us together, not divide us," Stitt said in a Twitter statement. "As a governor, I strongly believe that not a single cent of taxpayers' money should be used to define and discriminate Oklahoma's youth by their race or gender. That is what this basic law promotes public education."
Teaching about the massacre of the Tulsa race and the Greenwood region remains part of the state's values in the study of history and the United States. Critics of the law are concerned about the "cold effect" it may have on teachers who try to teach complex historical topics involving race or gender.
"It's really twisting the knife in the wound," Eaton said of the legal term.
Mr. Monroe Nichols, representing Greenwood County, said the law "puts a lot of pressure on teachers to fix it, but it's not clear what it means to fix it properly."
"I think the law was written in such a way that there was a lot of ambiguity," said Nichols, Black. Nichols resigned from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Commission this month over a new law.
Speaking about his 13-year-old son, who learned about homicide at school, he said, "I think it's very important to understand these things and not just be educated about it but to understand what it means, to the point where we have to move on."
Naomi Andrews, a mother of four children in Grades 6 to 9, said: "They are building a world without real support. They are hiding information from students and teachers who will teach it."
Susan Foust, a recently retired librarian who helped teachers take a fifth-grade homecoming course at Emerson Elementary School in Tulsa, agreed.
"It has to be told. And the teachers have to be the ones teaching it," he said. "To tell us we can't talk about racism and we have to do it so that no one feels guilty - I mean, there has to be some understanding of what human nature is and how communities should support each other.