Londaryl Perry is still about a month away from teaching students about John F. Kennedy and his contributions to the Civil Rights movement.
For now, the Great Depression is taking precedent.
But Perry, a history teacher at Northeast Academy for Health Sciences and Engineering in Oklahoma City, is not about to let the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's death pass without discussing it with his young charges.
“I think it's important to know what this man has done for us, people of color, women and our movements throughout history,” he said Friday. “Those kids need to understand. They need to see. That's when you take time to reflect.”
Perry, like he did last year, will show footage of the president's Nov. 22, 1963, assassination in Dallas. He warns students to be prepared for about they're going to see.
“It's so graphic you can see the kids almost express anger,” Perry said. “They're trying to grasp why someone would do that to the president.”
Perry coaches volleyball and basketball and serves as the school's athletic director. Kids, he said, are not as emotionally attached to death because of social media and video games.
“They think you can reset life, almost,” he said. “But when you see Jackie Kennedy grabbing her husband's head … then you see a real change in those kids watching. They become more sensitive to what really has taken place and knowing that it is real.”
The subject is covered in very little detail in the text Perry, 39, uses to teach his 11th graders so he injects his knowledge about the assassination, including the numerous theories surrounding it.
“I let them know details about (accused killer Lee Harvey) Oswald,” he said. “I talk about conspiracies, the different thoughts and ideas behind it and the different people that tried to blame the CIA and Cuba.”
Students in the Oklahoma City school district do not learn about the assassination until they are high school freshman, officials said.
Perry's U.S. history book begins with reconstruction. Before showing the assassination footage he reviews the Civil War and the contributions of Abraham Lincoln, whom he likens to Kennedy because of their efforts for equality.
“I kind of compare those two so they understand the significance of the two eras, especially in dealing with discrimination,” he said. “(Kennedy) was basically the modern-day Lincoln.”