Teaching Students About Patsy Ramsey


Teaching students about Patsy Ramsey is an important component in understanding the complex story surrounding the murder of her daughter, JonBenét Ramsey. As a former beauty queen, wife, and mother, Patsy’s life was filled with both glamour and tragedy. This article aims to provide educators with the necessary resources and ideas to create an engaging lesson plan for students to learn more about Patsy Ramsey and the intricacies surrounding her life.


To begin the lesson, it’s crucial to provide students with a brief background on Patsy Ramsey. Born Patricia Ann Paugh in West Virginia in 1956, she later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and attended West Virginia University. She worked as a flight attendant before marrying John Ramsey, a successful businessman. They had three children together – Elizabeth, Burke, and JonBenét. Tragically, their daughter Elizabeth died in a car accident at the age of 22.

The Murder of JonBenét Ramsey

On December 26, 1996, six-year-old JonBenét was found dead in her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. The case quickly gained national attention due to its bizarre nature – a ransom note was discovered demanding $118,000 for JonBenét’s safe return even though she was later found in the house itself.

Suspicions began to circulate around the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. The media focused heavily on their apparent lack of emotion and strange behavior following their daughter’s murder. Students should be informed about this pivotal aspect of the case as they explore Patsy Ramsey’s life.

The Media Attention

As JonBenét’s murder case remained unsolved over two decades later, it has led to increased speculation about who committed such a heinous crime. One point of focus has been on how the media portrayed Patsy Ramsey – as either a grieving mother or a potential murderer. Teachers might consider showing students clips from TV news programs and talk shows discussing the case to analyze how media bias may have impacted public opinion.

Legal Struggles and Ongoing Investigations

Patsy and her husband underwent immense legal scrutiny throughout the investigation, facing accusations of mishandling the crime scene and even allegations of involvement in their daughter’s murder. Students should be made aware of the various legal struggles that arose during this time, such as grand jury investigations and lawsuits they filed against news outlets for defamation.

Patsy Ramsey’s Legacy and Impact

Despite the relentless speculation surrounding her life, Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer at the age of 49. Her death prompted various reactions – some viewed her as the epitome of strength while others still held onto suspicions about her involvement in JonBenét’s tragic death.

As teachers discuss Patsy’s life with their students, it is essential to leave room for open-ended discussions about her personhood and legacy. This case study offers an opportunity for students to examine the complexities of human emotions, empathy, and the consequences of media attention on individuals’ lives.


Teaching about Patsy Ramsey requires a delicate balance between presenting facts and encouraging critical thinking. By providing an in-depth analysis of her life, both in its triumphs and tragedies, educators can foster meaningful conversations about truth-seeking, media influence, and empathy. Cultivating this understanding in students will ultimately help them navigate various uncertainties in their own lives.

Choose your Reaction!