Gov Murphy's handling of the Covid-19 crisis has been completely incoherent and has caused unnecessary hardships for every citizen in our great state. But his policies have been particularly harmful for our young people. Gov Murphy never talks about the impact of his policies on the young people of the Garden State because he knows their mental and physical pain is bad for his political ambitions. However, their pain is only going to get worse now that school districts across New Jersey will remain closed to on-campus and in-class instruction because he wanted to appease his political base.
For example, experts are in agreement that children in New Jersey are being forced to remain in abusive home situations during the Murphy-mandated lockdown. The Covid-19 school closures mandated by Gov Murphy prevents teachers and other school staff from interacting with their children/students and they are often the first ones to notice child abuse. Marie Vincent Savatierre, Executive Director of Deirdre's House in Morristown, NJ was quoted as saying that "the thing that worries me is that countless children are suffering in silence." And she added that "school officials are often the first ones to notice abuse."
A CDC report done at the end of June showed anxiety symptoms were three times greater among young people than the previous year and depression among young people was four times as high. The report also detailed how young people are increasingly turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the anxiety and depression brought about by the isolation they are experiencing.
Joy Crabtree, a licensed psychologist, at Cooks Children Hospital in Fort Worth, TX separately added that she"believes social isolation, being away from school, and out of a routine have all contributed to children's mental state right now." The worst thing about seeing the uptick in child abuse, anxiety and depression that our young people are going through is that it all could have, and should have, been prevented. Schools in New Jersey should be opened to in-class instruction. There are examples from across the globe (many I highlighted in a previous letter) showing that schools can put in place effective protocols which would allow for in-class instruction and protect the health of students, faculty, and staff.
Finally to every one of my fellow parents in New Jersey, I ask that you heed the warnings from Shauna Moses, VP of Public Affairs at the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies when she says "there is a concern that the pandemic may push some kids to contemplate suicide." Our children are suffering greatly because of the political calculations of Gov Murphy and we must remind every parent and voter in New Jersey of that fact.