Montclair’s kids are suffocating. Schools, teachers are their oxygen (Letter)
I didn’t get to speak at the May 5 Montclair Board of Education meeting, but still wanted to say something. I hope this finds its way to our community leaders. So here it is:
Every morning I wake up and I shake my head, I take a deep breath, and hold back the tears. The reason: I know it is time to wake my children (one in middle school and one in elementary school) for remote learning. While my son puts on a strong face — because that is what boys are supposed to do, right? — I see the pain behind his eyes, the sadness of isolation from his friends and the lack of an ability to express himself in person. That gleam in his eyes, that spark that makes him so unique and so special is not something that can be expressed in remote learning. But he gets up and gets dressed for remote learning because he is strong.
Then there is my daughter, born a free spirit, a rebel to every cause. Before the hybrid schedule started for her, I would wake her up and the anger and pent up emotions were palpable — just too much for her to keep in. But we would work to be calm and get ready for remote learning, because she is also strong. Our remote learning day would be interlaced with periods of crying, hiding under the table, and more crying, and in the background a voice coming from the computer telling my daughter to get back in front of the screen. My wife and I would do our best to console our daughter each day and coax her back in front of the screen because she has to learn, right? Then hybrid learning was approved; someone at the board meeting characterized it as “oxygen.” That is exactly right. Our children are suffocating, struggling to breath. The return to school buildings is the oxygen our children need, but more than that it is the teachers who give our children the oxygen to not just live but thrive.
This has been a difficult time for all. My hope, my wish, if I can have one, is that we can come together united as one family of the Montclair community all with the same goal: to provide for the emotional and educational wellbeing of our children.
Montclair Local's Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email email@example.com, or mail "Letters to the Editor," 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer's name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week's Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our "Town
Square" banner. "Town Square" essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org at least seven days prior to publication.