Public school students from New York, New Jersey, Oakland, Chicago, and other cities across the country staged walkouts this past week to protest the COVID-19 policies of districts that kept schools open.
“Many of us are worried about not only our health, but our teacher’s health, our janitor’s health, even our administration’s health,” one student said during a classroom walkout in Chicago.
Students protesting in downtown Chicago were seen carrying signs that read, “Not another student to COVID,” “The youth are not disposable,” and “You also tested positive for profiting off-putting teachers & students in unsafe conditions.”
It might have been an entertaining conversation to ask that kid how someone profits off keeping a public school open — or closed — for any reason. And, as an aside, the Chicago public schools received $4 billion in COVID relief funds from Washington. What the hell did they spend it on?
But the underlying hysteria of kids who are at virtually no risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID walking out because they think they’re in danger speaks to the consequences of adults — specifically, teachers in Chicago — exaggerating the risk for political purposes.
Related: Data Matters: School Closures Only Accomplished Harm; Teachers’ Unions Must Be Held Accountable
The thought that went into devising the “chants” the kids were supposed to use when protesting leads one to believe a more mature and devious mind was at work.
Here are our chants! pic.twitter.com/BMitv3mZSE
— Chi-RADS (@chiradsCPS) January 14, 2022
Chant 7 (not shown) is a doozy. “You close the schools, we take the streets, f**k these racist ass police.”
The protest was organized by a group called Chi-RADS — “Chicago Radicals,” I guess — an “organization of allied, radical CPS high schoolers from every corner of the city to organize to create an education system that best serves us.”
The demands they posted sound like every high school kid’s dream of being in charge.
Part of the students’ demands include that all classes shift to a remote format for two weeks while individual schools work on a plan to involve parents, students, parents [sic], teachers, and administrators in their decision-making on coronavirus policies. Once a plan is finalized, the students are demanding that the plan be put up for a vote by the school body.
In one set of demands, the group states that the CPS should “fully” fund public transportation for students, “reload EBT cards,” and provide “covid relief stipends” to students.
What’s a “covid relief stipend,” and where do I get mine?
Is it just a coincidence that a lot of these same demands were being made by some of the more radical elements in the teacher’s unions? The union didn’t want schools open at all, and had previously demanded the school board fund all public transportation for students, even pay for housing. They couldn’t have offered some guidance (free of charge, we hope) to these addled children, could they have?
Elsewhere in the United States, students were also walking out for basically the same reason; they believe it’s dangerous to go to class.
Elsewhere in the county, Zoe Cantor, a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, was also feeling anxious as text messages started pouring into her phone shortly after the New Year.
“It was like: ‘This person has covid. That person has covid. Another person has covid. Did you know?’” she said.
Note the breathless concern, as if she was reading text messages saying that “this person” has cancer or “another person” has cancer.
She pictured her high school, which is home to 2,000 students and where masks are required but the enforcement varies. She thought about lunchtime, when hundreds of kids pack into the cafeteria and remove their masks to eat. “And that’s when I got worried,” said Cantor, who is both vaccinated and boosted.
Children are easily frightened. The kids in Chicago and elsewhere have been conditioned by more than a year of exaggerated, hysterical COVID rhetoric to believe the bug is coming for them. The reality is far different, of course, but it’s too late to alter their opinions.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member