- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

BOYS TOWN, Neb. (AP) A national institution for wayward children is planning a new workbook featuring speeches and biographies of American icons to help schools teach patriotism in the classroom.
Geared toward students in grades seven through 12, the book by Girls and Boys Town will be touted as a teaching tool this spring in a brochure that will be sent to 112,000 school systems across the nation.
"After September 11, a lot of educators had looked at what they were doing and said 'This isn't working very well, is it?'" said the Rev. Val Peter, who leads the institution started by the Rev. Edward Flanagan in 1917 and made famous by the 1938 film "Boys Town."
Because of the terrorist attacks, patriotism is being stressed in the classroom for the first time in decades. Education boards from Virginia to Washington state are calling on schools to incorporate the Pledge of Allegiance in their daily activities. In Nebraska, the state Board of Education recently renewed a 1949 requirement for schools to teach the lyrics to patriotic songs and reverence to the American flag.
The first 3,000 copies of "The Girls and Boys Town Book on Patriotism" will be the basis of a new class offered this spring at the institute's 13 campuses from Los Angeles to New York. More books will be printed and distributed to other schools for $3.95 each.
The book's first image is a photo of teen-agers wearing labels showing their ethnic backgrounds African-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American. Above them are the words, "Before September 11, 2001."
In a second photo, they all bear the same label American.
The 76-page book features brief biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and includes comments from former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani at the site of the World Trade Center. It also has snippets on despots such as Germany's Adolf Hitler.
"We wanted to spell out the difference between healthy patriotism and patriotism gone awry," said Tom Dowd, the institution's curriculum training specialist.
Thirty-one pages are set aside for student writings, prompted by a range of questions, including the definition of a hero and of a unified country.
"There is a time for everything under heaven, and this is a time for patriotism," Mr. Peter said.

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