“Don’t reopen schools, it’s not safe!” But what toll have children paid as a result of the shutdown? Besides about 1/3 not logging into lesson plans and learning falling behind, depression is becoming an issue, morale is down and teen suicide is soaring. Type in search any big city and “suicides hotline calls” and you’ll see the massive increases in people asking for help.
You can do the same for opiate overdoses. Nationwide opiate overdoses are up about 20%, but in some regions it’s much higher. Who isn’t unemployed durning this pandemic is drug dealers, their business is thriving.
Visits to the ER for child abuse related injuries are up 35%, while calls to report suspected child abuse are down. Without teachers and coaches, kids have lost their safety net. ￼
Child abuse calls plunge during coronavirus as hospitals see more severe cases than usual.
This is especially heartbreaking when it appears that kids are neither getting nor spreading Covid. In Germany they reopened schools and after testing 2045 students in 13 schools they found no outbreaks, even when kids had an infected adult at home.
The CDC reported its final number for child flu deaths of the season the, Fall 2019 through April 2020, at 166.
Yet we never considered shutting down schools for the flu. Covid has taken 30 kids, mostly teens, and the number in California is ZERO.
This “distance learning” we have in place is different from homeschooling. Parents that homeschool have voluntarily committed to learning curriculum and teaching and it’s usually done so with backup. Almost all of them are in an association and have sports, community theater, art or music lessons outside the home, and field trips with other home schooled kids. The locked down 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 kids 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 and can pretend to be anyone. They can take as long as needed to win a child’s trust. “Reports of child exploitation, 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 kids. 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,” said Mr. Ballard.
John Shehan, Vice President of National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, stated “In the first quarter of 2020 NCMEC became aware of predators openly discussing the pandemic as an opportunity to entice unsupervised children into producing sexually explicit material.” The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to NCMEC during the first six months of this year surged 90% and reports of predators enticing minors went up 93%.
Parents fears are understandable, as are teachers, administrators, and staff concerned about returning to school, but science, humanity and our children’s mental health is on the side of reopening our schools soon.