From the Editor: Virus makes this a tough year for high school seniors
Many things are beginning to soak in as the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions against it wear on.
One of them is the fact that the seniors in the Class of 2020 at local high schools won’t have the run up to graduation they were expecting.
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ order to suspend K-12 classes, and similar steps by church-run schools, is supposed to allow school to resume April 13, the Monday after Easter.
But other orders have taken steps to push back ACT testing. There will be no school or district letter grades or performance scores under the state’s accountability scores, and there will be no LEAP testing.
The Louisiana Department of Educ-ation believes in test scores the way a preacher believes in Jesus. So it doesn’t really sound as though schools will be cranked up and ready to go in three weeks, does it?
Louisiana’s Teacher of the Year, Chris Dier of Chalmette High School, wrote an open letter with some advice:
“This is supposed to be your year,” Dier wrote. “The year for your senior prom, sporting events, cheer competitions, senior trips, clubs, and the rest of what senior year has to offer.
“You were supposed to be the captain of that team, the officer of that club, or that student who wanted to be with their friends one last year before venturing into the unknown. This was THE year that your entire schooling was building up to. But it was robbed from you because of this global pandemic. …
“But if there is any group that can plow through this in creative ways, it is your group. There is no pandemic strong enough to silence you or dent the passion of your generation. Keep your head up and keep fighting.”
We should remember some other kids, too.
Some kids rely on schools for a place to eat. That’s why it's good to see S. Mary Parish schools participate in an emergency meal delivery program.
Other kids have special needs that skilled teachers can address.
And some kids find refuge at school.
Maybe there’s alcoholism or drug abuse in their homes. Maybe there are other kinds of abuse, sexual or violent, directed at the children themselves, a parent or a sister or brother.
These are kids who sometimes dread coming home from school. They don’t run to the TV or the videogames. They try to figure out what mood Mom or Dad is in.
They may act up in school. They may be withdrawn. They may throw themselves into arithmetic or science to escape.
Most of all, they’ll suffer quietly for a long, long time before they’ll admit their families aren’t like the families they’re supposed to have. But I’ll bet every teacher knows or can remember at least one kid like that.
Think of them, too.
In your letter
There’s a letter-writing campaign going on. You can tell because we’ve received nine copies of it over various signatures.
Rather than publish the letter nine times, we’ll publish it here:
“As you evaluate a COVID-19 emergency aid package, I urge you to support charities and nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable people and communities at this time of need. Charities and nonprofits need the following policies to maintain operations, expand scope to address increasing demand, and stabilize losses from closures:
“1. Expressly include charitable nonprofits in the $200 Billion loan fund for businesses, including airlines. The charitable sector needs an immediate infusion of $60 billion and the loan program is a fast way to get cash in the hands of organizations serving immediate needs in communities, yet facing lost and declining revenue due to the pandemic.
“2. Improve the above-the-line charitable deduction by raising the cap to $2,000 and al-lowing taxpayers to immediately claim the deduction on their 2019 taxes (due on July 15), and afterwards through 2021.
“3. Clarify that charitable nonprofits of all sizes are able to participate in the emergency Small Business Loan Program by using the tax-law definition of charitable organizations (Sec. 501(c)(3) public charities) and removing the language excluding nonprofits that receive Medicaid reimbursements.
Bill Decker is managing editor of The Daily Review.