Another social worker’s opinion on schools

August 3, 2020

I want to point out a different vantage point to the Commentary from Dr. Jill Linden in the Cape Gazette dated July 30.  Dr. Linden identifies herself as a retired school psychologist. To make a statement that lower income students should attend school because it is “better for their health and for their learning” is colluding with the thinking that their parents are less resourceful to meet educational needs of their children.  To quote Dr. Linden, “How well can less-educated parents teach their children?” implies that these students should sacrifice health as opposed to finding a way to provide equitable resources in the homes for equitable education.  

Again, to quote Dr. Linden: “These children would probably go to the home of a friend or neighbor…and are unlikely to require masks or distancing.”  Why would homes of lower income families require less protection than higher income families? What data is this based upon other than your opinion of “parents in low-paying jobs.”  

I would argue that children on a school playground or in a classroom are vulnerable to contracting and spreading COVID-19. Rather than trying to dance around the government’s careless and thoughtless response and collude with their non-medical advice, the questions should be how to protect all children and all families, and do the right thing such as they have done in Europe and China to contain this illness. They are putting plexiglass cubicles around each classroom desk and distancing the desks of every student.  Do not collude with the corruption and idiocy of those in charge right now, and continue to sacrifice each other as a pandemic statistic while the administration laughs all the way to the bank.  

We should all find communal shame in the way we have treated each other during this pandemic. We missed an opportunity to try to heal the divisiveness, see us all in this together, work together to help each other regardless of party lines.  While that opportunity was missed, let us start responding as that community of humans with the same care for each other and stop the sacrifice of those that are deemed less capable. 

We are all capable of complying with the medical recommendations for the sake of each other.  As someone in Sweden stated, “We are doing what we need to do and have been successful because we care about each other, not like you Americans.” Dividing rather than further supporting and supplementing the health or educational children of families and students based on their economic level is completely shameful.  

Gail Quenneville, LCSW
licensed clinical social worker 
  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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