I am a wife and a mother. I am a family advocate and a follower of Jesus Christ. 

I live in the state of California in a county that will not be going back to school this next week. Children across the district have been issued chromebooks pre-loaded with the materials they will need to facilitate their education. I appreciate the efforts of teachers and administrators state-wide who have spent countless hours throughout the summer developing curriculum and training to teach in a distance learning style.

But let the children back in school.

When school ended in March and distance learning began, I raised my voice in concern for children who are at home for many more hours a day than ever before; many being neglected and abused. Parents have lost jobs, parents are burdened, parents are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

Let the children back in school.

It was not until yesterday that I became educated regarding the statistics of an even more horrifying crime: the number of children being forced into human trafficking. (I choose to spare the details and actual numbers for the children who read this.) At this particular time, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children conveys an increase of 103 percent in online enticement reports as compared to the same time period in 2019.

Let the children back in school.

I close by quoting a podcast I listened to recently: The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, episode 986. I quote Tim Ballard, the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad.

“I’m worried about kids right now a lot. I feel like we pursue good things and that they make sense but, too often, we don’t consider the children who are being hurt…do we know the trade-offs?...If you’re 60 years old or younger, you have a 99.9% chance of surviving [covid]…Teachers who create the infrastructure that keeps kids…from being assaulted are [predominately] (89%) under 60 years old. What we should really be asking is, ‘What’s scarier to you?’ Once we’ve taken care of the most vulnerable [population in regards to covid], ‘What’s scarier – a virus with a 99.9% survivability or the trade-off?’ Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of children are being…assaulted. Kids can’t get loud…, they can’t protest …and so we don’t hear from them. It’s on us as adults to stand up and be their voices and say: “We will sit at the table for you. We will make sure you are represented.”

I will sit at the table.

I will represent the children.

How will you join me?

Let us back in school.

 

Katie Keith,

Marysville

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