Children are not safe here, and no one wants to acknowledge it, much less admit it.
In the wake of another Labor Day, I send much love and recognition to workers and unions across the nation. I wish that that was all that was on my mind today.
Last week, when Philadelphia’s children were supposed to start school in the buildings, one hundred of them had to dismiss early for two days because of the oppressive, overwhelming heat. As a product of the public school system, I experienced many days that were either too hot or too cold. When it was too cold, my classmates wore their outside coats to class, and when it was too hot, the teacher would turn the lights out, order us to stop fanning with our home-made paper fans, and make us sit still for the whole class. Gym class was a blur. No fans, no air conditioning, and hot air blowing through the one or two windows that could be budged open.
Just imagine sitting in a school bus for eight hours. Get the idea?
I knew, therefore, that the situation had to have been pretty extreme for the schools to dismiss early, and I was not wrong. There were reports of children vomiting and losing consciousness, even without masks. Nobody wants to get sued or vilified in the press, so the kids had to go.
That is not my issue.
My issue is that the children have been out of the school buildings for at least a year. Granted, the pandemic threw us all into a tailspin, but there are elected officials in place whose jobs are to think about certain details regarding personal safety–none of which apparently apply to children. After the lockdown, parents were gung-ho about getting their kids out of the house and back into the buildings, unmasked, many of them before a vaccine was even created, and every one of them unprotected. Even President Biden, as much as I appreciate him, enthusiastically encouraged parents to send their children back to school. Logic would dictate that someone somewhere would have prepared the schools with the proper climate control. We are still dealing with Covid, and now monkeypox, not to mention other diseases that some parents have decided not to vaccinate their children against. But by all means, send the children skipping back to the human Petrie dish, because they are too much of a headache at home
Oh, but there’s more….
During the 2020 lockdown, school shootings went all the way down to ten (when the buildings were supposed to be empty?). In 2021, when the hybrid method was being shoved down our throats, that number went up to 34. As of May 2022, there have been 27. I noticed this, and I am a nobody. Why is no one in power doing a thing about that?
Because children are and always have been expendable.
Sure, we recognize their feelings and capacity for greatness. We even watch so-called reality television shows that showcase their special talents. Children of the 21st century are growing up savvier, more articulate, and freer than the generations before them did, yet their health and welfare still mean nothing to the adults charged with their care.
I am a child of the 70’s, the last generation that children were openly expected to be “seen and not heard”. Back in that day, we were considered free labor and adequate scapegoats for the adult negativity that was heaped upon our parents. Children were not even allowed to speak when adults were talking, even if they were talking about you. I have been that child, that non-entity that had no feelings, whose conception, birth, and basic needs were treated more like an inconvenience than a miracle or privilege. I know how it feels to not matter, and it is not an easy feeling to shake off, even in adulthood.
What is the ripple effect of such disregard for the lives of our children? Much more than the two that I have mentioned, but we are living it right now. This present generation of excellent children are being treated like lab rats and cannon fodder.
Why am I the only one upset about that? If I am not the only one, then let me know in the comments.