Teacher Turns Unspeakable Crime Into Chance For Her Kids To Make A Difference

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The crisis in Nigeria is difficult enough for adults to comprehend, but what about children?

One teacher is taking a unique approach to teaching her kids about what’s happening — and how they can make a difference, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Thursday.

Sixth graders at MS 331 in the Bronx read their assignments aloud before turning them in — letters addressed to New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“I’m writing this letter to inform you of what is happening in Nigeria, Africa,” student Ariel Portillo said.

“I would like for you, as a senator of United States, to help us,” added Nicole Perez.

Social studies teacher Marilyn Griffin came up with the idea after reading about the mass kidnapping of more than 200 boarding school girls in Nigeria.

“I clicked on the link and read about it and was like … I have to do something about this,” Griffin said.

She said she began with the basics. Griffin had her students make signs and post them around the school.

The hashtag “bring back our girls” has become a global symbol for the campaign to rescue the girls.

“The girls especially were upset about it, like I should be able to get an education,” Griffin said.

Then, Griffin revealed the assignment to write the letters to the senators.

“I’m writing you this letter because I want you to do something for these girls that lost their dreams,” sixth grader Jennifer Nin Ramirez read aloud.

For extra credit students can add the hashtag to their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Griffin said the exercise is her way of teaching the kids that they can make a difference.

“How would you feel? What would you do?” Portillo read, posing a question to the lawmakers.

The idea is expanding as seventh and eighth grade teachers have begun giving out the same assignment to their students, Brown reported.

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