Daily Video

June 1, 2020

States mobilize National Guard amid protests



Directions: Read the news summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. The video has been edited for length and to remove disturbing footage. To watch the full video or read the transcript, click here. If short on time, read this AP News summary of protests through May 31, and discuss the response by government and law enforcement officials.

Summary: Twenty-three states have mobilized the National Guard in response to ongoing protests in cities across the country. Though many protests have been peaceful, some protesters, along with other groups and individuals taking advantage of the protests, have vandalized, burned, looted and destroyed businesses. Violent confrontations between police and protesters have also been documented in dozens of cities. The first state to mobilize the National Guard was Minnesota, which continues to see demonstrations despite the presence of the Guard and imposition of curfews. 

  • Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged May 29 with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
  • Violent confrontations continued into Monday morning.
  • On May 31, the driver of a tanker truck sped into a group of protesters in Minneapolis and was later arrested.
  • Thousands of protesters have also gathered outside the White House, with some confronting Secret Service and others setting fires set at nearby parks and buildings.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential questions: What choices have city and state leaders made to tamp down violence amidst nation-wide protests? What other strategies could they use?
  2. Do you think interventions such as mobilizing the National Guard and imposing curfews will help limit or end violence and destruction? If not, what will?
  3. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other local leaders originally claimed that nearly all arrests were of people from outside the state, though they later walked back the claim. Why do you think they made this claim in the first place?
  4. Stories of violence and police brutality can be upsetting. If you are upset by this story, who is a trusted adult you can speak with? If you are not sure, ask your teacher.   
  5. Media literacy: What is the difference between media with press credentials and citizens with cell phones and other recording equipment who share what they witness on social media? Which source do you trust more? Why? In a fast-moving, chaotic crisis, what news sources help you understand the situation? 

Extension activities:

1. Trump’s response: President Donald Trump has tweeted about the protests, but has not yet addressed the nation. 

A. Watch this video or read the transcript of the interview and then ask your students:

  • Essential Question: During moments of destructive civil unrest, what power do national leaders have to reduce tension or otherwise bring about peace? What words, if any, might be helpful in a moment such as this?
  • Essential Question: How might Trump’s tweets on the protests affect how Americans view the issue? 
  • Do you agree with the Washington Post reporter that Trump may be using Twitter including misinformation (see EXTRA’s lesson on this topic) as a distraction from issues like the pandemic? Why or why not?
  • Media literacy: Do you think the President’s use of Twitter affects how the public views the presidency? Do you think Trump’s tweets help or hurt his 2020 campaign efforts? Explain.

B. Watch this video of former Vice President Joe Biden who is also the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Explain Biden’s response to George Floyd’s death and compare and contrast with Trump’s response.

2. If there is time, watch What the 1960s can teach us about modern-day protests(video): Have students watch this interview with Princeton history professor Omar Wasow on the ways protest (whether peaceful or violent) can change the political landscape. Ask your students: How do these protests compare to some of the civil rights protests of the 1960s? Do you think these protests will lead to some of the same sorts of change? Why or why not?


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here. Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


If you are making plans for distance learning, take a look at our list of PBS resources that covers a variety of subjects for middle and high school students. 

  • Tags:

  • Related Stories

    Tooltip of related stories

    More Videos

    Tooltip of more video block

    Submit Your Student Voice

    NewsHour Extra will not use contact information for any purpose other than our own records. We do not share information with any other organization.

    More Videos