“I play football and basketball and those sports make up a big part of my life, and when I’m not here every day doing something with those sports, honestly, I feel really lost in life. Since I’m a junior, college is starting to cross my mind, and without this essential year of learning, I feel completely unprepared for college. I know I’ve still got another year, but time goes faster than you really think.”
He continued, “I just believe we should be here at school and we should be here playing football. It’s crazy to think that just down the road, they’re playing a football season — they’re almost done with their football season. It’s honestly ridiculous. And I’m willing to keep my teammate and classmates in line, minding whatever rules, just so I can be back here doing the stuff I love.”~Kooper Davis, Teenager from Hobbs, NM
How many times have you heard a politician say, “it’s for the children” when pushing some nonsense bill? Whenever that term is used, you can be darn sure that whatever is being proposed has very little to do with kids and more than likely goes against their best interest. The never ending pork saddled school funding bills for example, always seem to put plenty of cash in teacher union coffers and very little in to classroom instruction or student betterment.
Funny how that works. No, not funny at all.
The most epic public policy failure of our kids though certainly goes to shutting down schools in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It was not in any way shape or form for their benefit and once it became known that children don’t suffer from nor transmit Covid much, keeping schools closed seemed purposefully cruel. Many schools in California STILL remain closed today, with teacher’s unions weaponizing the elusive goal of “opening up safely” to demand ever more resources while bludgeoning the hopes of kids desperate to go back to school.
This heart wrenching article, The Lost Year, What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers, really drives this home and is difficult to read. It highlights teenagers in two towns; Denver City, TX which opened up schools and sports last September and Hobbs, NM which sits a mere 2 miles away from Denver City, yet may as well be on Mars as pertains to the difference in coronavirus restrictions. Hobbs schools remained shuttered until just this past February (opening at only at 50%) with sports finally starting a few weeks later.
From the article:
“As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their “circulation.” There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidencethat schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus.
As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019. A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.”
Sports too play an enormous role in helping teenagers channel aggression properly while learning life lessons on teamwork, character and leadership. For many, sports play a central role and having them snatched away at such a pivotal time in their lives was devastating.
So much of what’s happened and is still happening to our kids angers me, but what stands out the worst is the psychological abuse of making them out to be dirty vessels of disease who could kill grandma at any moment. Again from the article:
“We should be more careful with kids,” wrote Andy Slavitt, a Medicare and Medicaid administrator under President Barack Obama who was named senior advisor for President Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, in a Jan. 3 tweet. “They should circulate less or will become vectors. Like mosquitos carrying a tropical disease.”
In Los Angeles, county supervisor Hilda Solis, a former Obama labor secretary, urged young people to stay home, noting the risk of them infecting older members of their households. “One of the more heartbreaking conversations that our healthcare workers share is about these last words when children apologize to their parents and grandparents for bringing COVID into their homes for getting them sick,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “And these apologies are just some of the last words that loved ones will ever hear as they die alone.”
It’s hard to comprehend really what we’ve done to our children because the setbacks in academic, mental & physical health all play off each other and the vast negative consequences will play out for years to come.
So many times this past year I’ve heard that we are not allowing this, or restricting that to protect the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society. And yet so many times those restrictions have benefitted the most wealthy and powerful at the expense of the vulnerable and marginalized.
Funny how that works. No, not funny at all.