AAP: Back To School Because of Inequity

AAP: Back To School Because of Inequity

AAP: Back To School Because of Inequity

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging government officials and school districts to do everything they can to reopen schools in the fall.

In a statement released yesterday, AAP shared that keeping children home may be far worse than the impact of the disease itself, citing depression, drug use and suicide in some severe cases:

Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being and provide our children and adolescentswith academic instruction, social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, and opportunities for physical activity, among other benefits. Beyond supporting the educational development of children and adolescents, schools play a critical role in addressing racial and social inequity. As such, it is critical to reflect on the differential impact SARS-CoV-2 and the associated school closures have had on different races, ethnic and vulnerable populations. American Academy of Pediatrics

AAP states that the impact of social isolation could lead to morbidity and even mortality in children. I remember the conversations that circled around in the community I live in when Governor Jay Inslee and OSPI Superintendent, Chris Reykdal, called off school for the remainder of the year. While some of us were fortunate enough to work from home and be home with our children, there was the big question of what was happening with the students that did not have this luxury. Then, there were questions about the students that were not in safe home environments, students whose parents are not present (even in a pandemic). What were they going to do? They have a hard enough time with truancy and now they have to attend a ZOOM meeting? Seriously?

School districts did what they could. They quickly went to online learning models. Some teachers embraced this, others did not. The same went for the students. School district employees assisted in providing drive-thru food distribution for these students and their families.

While most of us are like, “it’s about time” (honestly, none of us thought “summer” break would be five months-long), there are factors to consider. Arizona, a state that adopted ae year-round school model, has seen an increase of cases. Governor Doug Ducey urged individuals to only go out for essentials and to stay at home if they can. California, a state that has also adopted a year-round school model, has also seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. Texas and Florida are also seeing upticks and these states are now considering other measures and locking-down businesses that were given the green light to open once again.

We cannot continue to do what we have done over the last number of weeks.”-California Governor, Gavin Newsom

Considering the school year for some of these states is due to start here in another few weeks-give or take-no, we cannot. But my question is this-where was the concern about the racial and social inequities when Democrat governors gave individuals their blessings to gather in massive crowds and “peacefully protest” (and subsequently riot in some cases) a few weeks back? Where was their concern for inner-city families and marginalized families then? Furthermore, where was this concern on behalf of all of the white, educated 20-somethings who took that one African-American Literature class in college, threw on filthy pieces of cloth, called them “masks” and went out into the streets apologizing for their “whiteness”? The very educational systems in place in some of our states are influenced largely by Democrats. Democrats who were absolutely okay with standing shoulder-to-shoulder to protest inequality. Democrats who largely did not think about the sheer consequences of how these mass gatherings to prove a point would impact things like, say, kids going back to school. And if kids stay home in some cases, some parents can’t go back to work to pay the bills. So yeah, let’s talk about that anxiety and depression because it impacts the whole family unit. Let’s talk about inequality and injustice for these kids. Do you think they once looked at the impact after we’ve “flattened the curve”? But they’re the smart ones, don’t you know?

The American Academy of Pediatrics may have been three weeks late in their recommendations. Let’s see how much mercy and compassion the social justice warriors can exercise in staying the hell home to address social inequity so marginalized kids can go back to school in a timely fashion. We’re waiting. And we start with the CHOP.

Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Cropped

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