9/11: Urban History Teacher LeRoy Votto remembers how school reacted

Kyra Bergsund, Staff Writer

For Urban history teacher LeRoy Votto, recalling the events of 9/11 brings back anger.

“I gotta tell you, I was enraged. I also have to tell you, I still am,”  Votto said.

Although some details of what Urban did as a school on that day in 2001 are fuzzy for Votto, what he remembers is how quiet everyone was, and how no one really understood how substantially this event would affect America.

“I think you could have heard a pin drop” at Urban as students and teachers took in the news, Votto said. “I know that’s a cliché, but it was quiet.” An all-school meeting was held, and Head of School Mark Salkind gave a speech to the student body.

According to Votto, about a week after 9/11, once people had a chance to process the events, a more thoughtful assembly took place, including a minister who spoke to the students and faculty.  Votto said that this meeting helped to put things in perspective, and also offered healing words to everyone.

However, Votto remembers disagreeing with one comment that the minister made, in which he referred to an American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999.  As Votto remembers, in that reference, the minister compared 9/11 to what happened in Belgrade. However, Votto felt that “it could not be compared to slamming airplanes into workspaces.”