The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on everybody, but kids have been hurt most of all. The age group that is least susceptible to the virus has struggled with the policies that politicians and teachers’ unions have imposed on them.
School closures, virtual learning, mask mandates, and unnecessary vaccines have had an effect on our kids and teens. And now, one network news correspondent is calling out those COVID policies for what they’ve done to our young people.
CBS correspondent Jan Crawford appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday, and she had plenty to say about the burdens the pandemic has placed on America’s children and teens.
“They will be paying for our generation’s decisions the rest of their lives”: @JanCBS explains why she thinks 2021's biggest underreported story was the devastating impact of COVID policies on children pic.twitter.com/AUU1f6AFNi
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 26, 2021
“My kids hear me rant about this everyday, so I may as well tell you guys. It’s the crushing impact that our COVID policies have had on young kids and children, by far the least serious risk for serious illness,” Crawford told the Face the Nation panel.
“They have suffered and sacrificed the most, especially kids in underrepresented, at-risk communities. And now we have the surgeon general saying there’s a mental health crisis among our kids,” she continued.
Crawford pointed out the “tremendous negative impact on kids, and it’s been an afterthought. It’s hurt their dreams, their future, learning loss, risk of abuse, their mental health.”
She definitely has a point, and she’s not alone in bringing it to our attention.
A November article from the Pew Charitable Trusts details some of the issues that teachers and school administrators are seeing in public school students as a result of pandemic policies.
“The grief, anxiety and depression children have experienced during the pandemic is welling over into classrooms and hallways, resulting in crying and disruptive behavior in many younger kids and increased violence and bullying among adolescents,” Christine Vestal writes. “For many other children, who keep their sadness and fear inside, the pressures of school have become too great.”
The statistics involving suicide attempts are sobering.
“According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among adolescents jumped 31% in 2020, compared with 2019,” notes Vestal. “In February and March of this year, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher among girls aged 12–17 than during the same period in 2019.”
Three organizations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association — teamed up to declare a national emergency regarding the mental health of children and adolescents throughout the pandemic.
“We are caring for young people with soaring rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness, and suicidality that will have lasting impacts on them, their families, and their communities,” their report states.
In many parts of the country, young kids came back to school after several months of virtual learning to mask mandates. Schools have opened and closed indiscriminately, often with little notice to parents. Students have lost precious learning and social time.
Additionally, some of these kids and teens have been stuck in less than ideal conditions for more hours of the day than they would if they were in school.
“When COVID disrupted the routine and resources that school and after-school care ordinarily provide, many children were left to face ongoing hazards at home, including parental issues such as intimate partner violence and substance misuse,” writes Julia Hotz at Scientific American.
Hotz also points out the increase in mental health diagnoses among young people.
“And a study of pediatric insurance claims filed between January and November 2020, conducted by the nonprofit FAIR Health, found a sharp increase in mental-health-related problems, especially generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder and intentional self-harm,” she writes.
It should be enough to break all of our hearts.
Children and teens are going to deal with these issues for years to come, some for the rest of their lives. And it’s all the fault of bureaucrats, health “experts,” and teachers’ unions who have enacted policies that don’t prioritize our children’s health. We’ll struggle as a nation for who knows how long as a result.
Those who are responsible for this mental health crisis should be held accountable. But they won’t be.