Teachers: sometimes it’s “just us” as child advocates. I was a career teacher for 46 years. A local reporter contacted me regarding my decades of reporting child abuse, which this pandemic is creating. I just completed the interview and learned this staggering fact: Child abuse reports to my county’s DHS during the first part of April 2019, compared to the same period of time in 2020, have dropped from more than 950 to under 400. So that’s good news, yes? Certainly not!
A headline from the April 7, 2020 New York Times: THE CORONAVIRUS COULD CAUSE A CHILD ABUSE EPIDEMIC. The article, written by Dr. Agrawal, a child abuse pediatrician, states: The Covid-19 pandemic has created the conditions for a rise in child abuse that could go unchecked.
But not in the county I live, right? Wrong.
The frontline reporters of child abuse are America’s teachers and counselors. Their advocacy role is completely diminished through eLearning and lock downs. Our children are sheltered in place with parents who lost jobs, lost savings or both. Our educators were literally given hours to swing 180º and mount online presentations. Their multiple classes, full of children who never experienced this non-contact educational system, have encountered the lack of WiFi, working computers, frustrated parents and politicians who hypothesize school starting in January of 2021. Child abuse is on the rise but there is no one to report it. Stop this madness now!
- Form national, state and local coalitions TODAY and address opening schools sooner than later. These coalitions, comprised of high school students, parents, teachers and administrators, hold the future in educational reform. Legislators and government officials must listen to these coalitions and implement their findings.
- Brainstorm with the philosophy of “no idea is wrong.” Conceptualize social distancing, sanitizing, contact tracing, class size, local medical preparedness and the use of tandem online/ in school resources .
- Curb the constant drone of gloom and doom from politicians, scientists and the medical community. When you take away hope and purpose from America and her children, the end results will highlight a more gruesome post pandemic tragedy than ever imagined.
- Embrace the “we won’t know until we try” mindset, which defined this country since her inception.
Let’s not waste another day on data, hypothesis or painting pictures of pessimism. None of those elements serve our children well. Preach forward thinking solutions. Practice proactive approaches. Persevere to open our schools no later than the fall of 2020.