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Is Justice Possible After Family Separations?

Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Activity
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards


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This lesson engages students in an exploration of issues of justice and civic reflection. According to the Washington Post, “The Trump administration separated at least 5,500 children from their parents along the border between July 2017 and June 2018 in an attempt to deter migration.” Over 500 families have yet to be reunited. On February 2, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that created a task force to reunite the remaining families. The guiding questions for the lesson are:

What were the short and long-term impacts of the family separation policy?

What would need to happen to bring justice for the victims? What needs to happen for there to be justice in society after government ordered family separations?

What kinds of actions can be taken so such crimes are not repeated?


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.


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