An 11-Year-Old CA Boy Committed Suicide During a Zoom Class; Will Gavin Newsom Wake Up Now?

As we’re all well aware, our “collective quarantine” hasn’t affected everyone equally. We’re not “in this together,” despite what all of the commercials and “benefit” concerts at the beginning of the year tried to tell us. This disparity is tragically evident when looking at the impact on school children, and two stories that came to my attention over the past 24 hours – about two 11-year-olds, a boy and a girl, who live just 40 miles apart – show that disparity is literally the difference between life and death.

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Back in September California added a “health equity measure” to its reopening guidelines, and Gov. Newsom has loudly emphasized his commitment to “equity,” whatever that means, and ensuring that families in lower socioeconomic classes have what they need to “meet this moment.”

In the minds of Newsom, Dr. Mark Ghaly, “Doctor” Barbara Ferrer, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and more, here’s what “equity” looks like for many middle-class and working-class kids.

No worry-free, unstructured play at a playground. If you don’t have siblings to play with or a backyard swing set (or a backyard), looks like you’ll be stuck entertaining yourself with screen time.

No parks and recreation youth sports leagues, essentially condemning kids to a sedentary, isolated existence.

And if your child isn’t athletically inclined, as is the case with my youngest, they still pay a price. When schools transitioned to distance learning mid-March, theatre, band, and choir performances at his performing arts magnet high school were canceled. Students looked forward to being back together in the fall or possibly over the summer – my son and others looked forward to attending Camp Bravo, a weeklong theatre camp in the Angeles National Forest their theatre teacher founded. Canceled.

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All of their performances this semester have been over Zoom, which leaves a lot to be desired. But they made the best of it, believing that they’d be back on campus for the second semester of their senior year. Then Gov. Newsom “pulled the emergency brake” and shut the state down.

To say that they’re discouraged would be putting it mildly. As my son said tonight, “Can we tell him to stop ruining our lives?” Adults are having a hard time at this point believing that “this, too, shall pass,” and it’s nearly impossible to convince a teenager that everything will someday go back to normal – especially when we can’t give them any type of time frame as to when that will be.

Morning after morning these kids experience another Groundhog Day of distance learning, as this student portrayed so vividly.

For kids whose parents are able to afford a private school, or who play club sports – like Gavin Newsom’s kids – the experience is totally different.

Newsom’s kids have been able to attend school in person, since they attend a private school that obtained a waiver from Sacramento County to be able to open. (In Thursday’s press conference, Newsom claimed the kids are again doing distance learning, but whether that’s simply due to the fact that they’re quarantined or because the school has gone back to full distance learning is unclear.)

And, there are four Newsom kids ensconced at a multi-acre estate with an au pair and plenty of recreational activities on-site.

In addition, Newsom’s oldest, an 11-year-old daughter, has been able to participate in youth soccer.

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While rec league sports aren’t operating in the state, travel/club softball, soccer, baseball, and lacrosse teams (and possibly more) have been holding socially-distant practices, then traveling to out-of-state tournaments to keep their kids playing. Newsom’s oldest is part of the San Juan Soccer Club ENCL program, according to parents in the league, which was one of 500 clubs participating in a massive tournament in Phoenix over Thanksgiving weekend. (Newsom’s daughter is part of the 3rd team for her age group, and that team did not travel to Phoenix.)

When Newsom declined to give new guidance on opening youth sports in California in early November, he said:

“(I have) a lot of friends with kids very, very active in club sports that have been very frustrated by this entire experience,” Newsom said. “It’s incredibly important that we do our physical activities safely.”

Well, that sure leaves a lot of pertinent facts out. Newsom’s child still gets to participate in sports, even if it’s just practice, and his “friends” with “kids very, very active in club sports” simply drive to Nevada or fly to Arizona or Utah to participate in tournaments, so they’re happy enough – and Newsom gets to continue his power-hungry, temper-tantrum rampage against the rest of California’s residents – damage to their children be damned.

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What’s most disgusting about Newsom’s actions is that it’s evident he’s aware that kids need socialization, physical activity, and to have a predictable, logical routine and world around them, so he provides it for his children and the children of those in his social set, then completely ignores the plight of anyone poorer or more ethnically diverse than his crew.

It’s a type of genocide.

For a growing number of middle-class and working-class kids, it all gets to be too much. Suicides and suicide attempts among our youth, and even among elementary school kids, are occurring at alarming levels, even though many in the media and even some medical professionals downplay or flat-out ignore the problem.

As a devastating example, on Wednesday an 11-year-old boy in Woodbridge, just south of Sacramento, shot himself in the head during a Zoom distance learning session for his 6th grade class. His microphone and camera were off at the time, but his sister heard the shot, ran into the room, turned the microphone on and got the attention of the teacher to ask her to get help, then ran to a neighbor’s house to get help. The boy was rushed to the hospital but died of his injuries.

The story was covered in the Sacramento media, but that’s about it. Statewide media don’t want to acknowledge the problem, and the national media absolutely do not. A California ambulance driver told RedState in October, on condition of anonymity:

I’ve just picked up my seventh suicide attempt for a kid under 18 in [redacted] County in 24 hours. All Tylenol and pill OD attempts. All intentional.

I saw over 20 suicide attempts this week…

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Lodi Unified School District, where the 11-year-old boy was a student, issued a maddening and callous statement about the boy’s death.

It reads:

“At the urgency of one of our students, our teacher was able to contact 911. We want to be sure our students are cared for. Please check in with your child and let us know if your child is in need of support.”

Excuse me? You’re telling parents they need to check in with their children? We HAVE been. For nine long months. We’ve been telling you they’re in need of support for MONTHS but your idea of support, teachers unions and spineless school district administrators, is to stay away from the classroom and consign these children to a lonely existence with no hope of ever returning to normal.

Then Paul Warren, Lodi Unified’s Special Education Director, told Sacramento’s CBS affiliate:

Sometimes we go through things and we have temporary emotional experiences, but with the support of family and other trained people we can get through those things.

“We go through things?” That really undermines what is happening in 2020. And, does that mean they’re putting the responsibility on the parents for not being able to prevent this? Because that would be really crappy. Who knows if they’re out working their fingers to the bone to keep a roof over their heads? From the stories, it doesn’t seem that they’re part of the class of government workers who’ve kept a stable paycheck throughout this entire nightmare.

Warren continued:

It’s tragic. Everyone’s been impacted by this. We have a team of mental health therapists that work with students. They help support the staff….

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To give him the benefit of the doubt, it seems that the reporters cut his comments off, so perhaps he had something more caring and sensitive to say. Maybe something like:

What happened to this young boy is heartbreaking and terrible and, most of all, shouldn’t have happened. Our teacher’s union and our school board are going straight to Governor Newsom and demanding that we be allowed to resume in-person instruction right away, since the science shows that schools are not the nexus of super-spreader events and because the CDC recently emphasized the harm that is coming to students who have been subjected to distance learning since March. One student’s death is too much, and we are destroying a generation of children without any scientific justification for the measures we’re taking.

We are going to do all we can to support this young boy’s family as they face the incomprehensible task of having to bury their child and brother.

Gavin Newsom couldn’t be bothered to mention this young boy’s death during his press conference Thursday. Ignoring what his policies have wrought is another slap in the face to the people who, perhaps naively, worked to “meet the moment,” trusting their elected officials, only to find that their governor demanded they sacrifice their child while he racks up $15,000 wine bills and sends his 11-year-old back to school and to her elite soccer club.

To be clear, it’s not my intent to belittle Newsom’s daughter or infer that she shouldn’t be able to play sports, attend school normally, or generally be a child. She absolutely should have the ability to do all of those things, and to do them without a care in the world. And her father should allow the rest of the children in the state to do the same. They all have the same needs.

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Again: They ALL have the same needs. Rich, poor, urban, rural, black, brown, white, boy, girl – any way you want to characterize our children, they all have the same needs. They are equal. And, Gov. Newsom, your policies make them UNEQUAL. Your policies led to the end of this young life.

I don’t know how you sleep at night.

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