May 17, 2021 Op-ed By John J. Ciafone
The pandemic has wrought tremendous damage throughout our society but, no group has been more victimized and abused than our children in our public schools.
Our children need to be back in school. They have lost almost two years of education, let alone socialization skills and the structure of a school setting. Studies have indicated that children in the early years can suffer permanent social dysfunction by not being in the classroom environment with other children.
As the former president of Queens Community School Board 30, I know how our children’s education, health and safety, is often put on the back burner, for the special interests of politicians and unions.
The children most at risk are from poverty-stricken and disadvantaged families, which can’t afford to purchase computers and internet service. A significant number of these children have not participated in online virtual classrooms and have been severely neglected resulting in mental abuse, depression, drug addiction and suicidal inclinations.
Yet no elected official or candidate for office is talking about this. Why? Because they are afraid of the Teacher’s Union, the UFT. A union that places its own interests above the best interests of children and parents.
However, you can’t blame the Teachers Union because it’s only representing the interests of its teachers. We should, however, blame our elected officials and candidates for office who are gutless in challenging the union on matters that damage our children’s future and the parents’ interests.
These spineless politicians and candidates would rather talk about the Green New Deal than advocating for our children who are the future of our society.
The teachers were given early access and priority for vaccination; however, a significant number of them have not received the vaccinations.
The purpose of prioritizing vaccines for teachers was to get the teachers back in the classrooms with the children. However, the teachers’ union continues to stifle the full return to the classroom.
Astonishingly, it was recently reported that the American Federation of Teachers, the national union, was dictating the scientific and medical terms to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), for their return to the classrooms. How is this possible when most private, Catholic and parochial schools have had in-class learning since September 2020, without major infection spikes.
The City Council and the Mayor who have consistently demonized and defunded our police seek to remove School Safety Officers and their supervision by the NYPD. School Safety Officers protect students, teachers and staff in our public schools. Without such supervision, gangs and criminals will run our schools. In fact, children are the number one targets of gangs and gang initiations in our public schools. Even more outrageous is the attempt by our elected officials to remove metal detectors in our schools.
The hypocrisy is incredible. When we see these terrible gun shootings in schools, where children are prey to horrific gun attacks, our politicians complain about the availability of illegal guns.
However, what better way to prevent gun violence in schools than to have metal detectors, which are a deterrent in preventing guns and knives from entering schools. This hypocrisy is boundless. Especially, when City Hall, which houses the Mayor and City Council have plenty of police security and metal detectors to prevent them from being harmed.
These individuals want to remove specialized school testing, gifted and talented programs and competition in schools, so that a teacher’s job is made easier and that no child stands out due to hard work. It’s a further destruction of our children and their future.
More devious in their destruction of our children is the desire to foster hate and resentment in the teaching of critical race theory. These crazed politicians are planting the seeds in our children to further hate and divide our Country with white privilege and white resentment. Whatever happened to the true Civil Rights Leaders, such as Martin Luther King, who practiced peaceful, non-violent protests and the notion of judging a person by one’s character and not by one’s color.
Our children are our future. Our children are our most important resource and investment. Our communities are only as good as the schools and children in our neighborhoods. Let’s all standup and fight for our children and their future. Let’s make sure that our children are not used as pawns by disingenuous individuals who use children to espouse their philosophy and agenda.
John J Ciafone is a candidate for NYC Council District 22 (Astoria). He is running as a Democrat in the June 22 primary.