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Birmingham Reflects on Sept. 11: School District Leader Encouraged Talk

Superintendent Larson recalls a common reaction: 'Is this a movie or am I dreaming?'

Memories of Sept. 11, 2001 are shared broadly, but also personally distinct. So are reflections on the enduring impact of that life-altering day a decade ago.

This week, Birmingham Patch presents 12 diverse perspectives on what happened that sunny Tuesday morning and the ensuing decade — including comments by a pastor, a sheriff, civic leaders, a state representative, a county commissioner and a woman widowed that awful morning.

'Continues to have an effect'

David Larson
Superintendent

This was a tragic day for our country and the world. It continues to have an effect on so many aspects of our lives.

I was in superintendent in Harbor Spring, MI, and in a meeting when I was advised of the attack. We quickly canceled the meeting and watched the events on TV. I remember how surreal it all felt as the second plane crashed into the second tower. For a moment, I wondered: "Is this a movie or am I dreaming?"

After making initial announcements to the staff and students, we allowed TV monitors to be on in the classrooms. We encouraged staff to assist and help facilitate the discussions that were taking place among the students. We formed some key information talking points and offered suggestions for parents as they processed the tragedy with their children.

In the ensuring days, we encouraged staff to allow students to process and discuss the events.

The school superintendent, selected in 2007, earned doctor of education and master's degrees from Nova Southeastern University in Florida after graduating from Asbury College in Kentucky. His  career began as a teacher in Florida, followed by administrative posts in that state, Singapore and Michigan. He was honored this year in Denver by the American Association of School Administrators as a Tech-Savvy Superintendent. as one of 10 "tech-savvy" superintendents selected nationally.

Check out what residents already had to say in our Birmingham Reflects series:

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