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Children: Lockdown's collateral damage

“Don’t reopen schools; it’s not safe!”

 

Last updated 7/23/2020 at 9:15am



But what toll have children paid as a result of the shutdown? Besides about a third of students not logging into lesson plans and learning falling behind, depression is becoming an issue, morale is down and teen suicide is soaring.

Actual suicide numbers are hard to confirm as they are locked down as to “not to encourage others,” but Los Angeles County has reported an 8,000% increase in calls to the suicide hotlines, many of them young people, according to https://abc7.com/suicide-hotline-calls-coronavirus-covid19-los-angeles/6117099/

Visits to the emergency room for child abuse related injuries are up 35%, while calls to report suspected child abuse down. Some parents and caretakers, who are also suffering from depression and job loss, overwhelmed by cabin fever and frustrated children, are losing it. Without teachers and coaches, children have lost their safety net.

“Child abuse calls plunge during coronavirus as hospitals see more severe cases than usual,” according to The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/04/30/child-abuse-reports-coronavirus/.

It is especially heartbreaking when it appears that children are neither getting nor spreading COVID-19. In Germany, they reopened schools and after testing 2045 students in 13 schools, they found no outbreaks, even when children had an infected adult at home, according to “German study finds low Covid-19 infection rate in schools | Germany | The Guardian” at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/13/german-study-covid-19-infection-rate-schools-saxony.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported its final number for child flu deaths of the season, fall 2019 through April 2020, at 166. Yet we never considered shutting down schools for the flu. The coronavirus pandemic has taken 30 children, who were mostly teens, and the number in California is zero. http://www.cdc.gov

This “distance learning” we have in place is different from home schooling. Parents that home-school have voluntarily committed to learning curriculum and teaching, and it’s usually done so with backup.

I briefly home-schooled – never appreciated teachers more – and my children had sports, community theater, art lessons outside the home and field trips with other home-schooled children. Our students have none of that.

Perhaps worse of all is underreported targeting of children by predators. Tim Ballard is a former CIA operative and special agent with the Department of Homeland Security who now fights child sex trafficking. He is CEO and founder of Operation Underground Railroad, a group of former and current law enforcement officials who aim to save children from the grips of child predators. This depraved group of people is thrilled there are more children staying at home in front of a screen, often not supervised.

Some parents don’t realize that many online games are designed for multiple players, strangers that log in can pretend to be anyone. They can take as long as needed to win a child’s trust.

“Reports of child abuse cases, worldwide, are more than a million higher this year than last. Unfortunately, conspiracy theories muddy the waters, but this is provable by the amount of child pornography circulating. It is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. The COVID-19 science is on the side of the children. The most dangerous thing is to keep them locked up with no teachers, coaches or after school supervisors thus making them more vulnerable to online predators. Millions of pedophiles want schools to remain on lockdown,” Ballard said.

For more information on Operation Underground Railroad, visit http://www.ourrescue.org.

I understand parents’ fears and I know that teachers, administrators and staff are also concerned about returning to school, but I believe that science, humanity and our children’s mental health is on the side of reopening our schools.

Diane Strain

 

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