Should the National Guard Have Been Called in to Kent State?

This Should the National Guard Have Been Called in to Kent State? lesson plan also includes:

May 4, 1970. The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 Massacre, rocked the nation. Ohio National Guardsmen, called to the Kent State campus by Governor James Rhodes, fired on unarmed college students, killing four and wounding nine others. Rather than examining whether or not the National Guard should have fired on the crowd, class members consider whether the guard should have been called to the city of Kent at all. After conducting an in-depth analysis of a series of primary and secondary source documents, groups assume the identity of a student or Mayor LeRoy Satrom and provide reasons for why the Guard should or should not be called in. The class then watches the documentary, The Kent State Shootings: Dealing With Dissent and reflect on whether or not they regret the decision they made and why.

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CCSS: Adaptable

  • Resource packet includes a detailed script for the activities, primary source documents, photos, worksheets, assignments, and a rubric



  • To be a truly authentic experience, class members should be unfamiliar with the Kent State events prior to the exercises
  • A safe discussion environment needs to be established prior engaging in the activities
  • The video, The Kent State Shootings: Dealing With Dissent is no longer available, however the resource is still worth your time