Children have gone wild during COVID and teachers are their prey


My teacher friends thought 2020 would be the nadir.

Distance learning, hybrid classrooms, quarantines, more than full-time work without childcare, angry parents, ever-changing education plans, pay cuts and fear for their own health have left many people to question their career choices, if not their sanity.

This year is worse.

A kind of mass hysteria has spread among school populations, especially among middle school and young high school students. Without the structure of classroom instruction last year, the entire educational cohort has experienced some sort of collective development that has stopped – or worse.

They have gone wild.

Diane carman

Ryan Silva, principal of Cherry Creek High School, sent a letter to parents this month asking for their help in getting kids to stop acting like sociopaths.

On the school campus, Silva said students “treat each other and adults disrespectfully … leaving garbage in hallways, cafeterias and outdoor spaces.”

Teachers report that students use profanity and racial epithets against them, refuse to do their jobs, disrupt classrooms and repeatedly ask to use the toilet so they can wander the hallways and never go back to class. Then, when teachers try to restrict access to the toilet, children complain to their parents that teachers are unreasonable and don’t even allow them to use the toilet.

Children exhibit all manner of provocative behavior, ranging from refusing to wear masks and vandalism of school property to berating other students and humiliating substitute teachers.

And there are more and more vicious fights.

Mike Eaton, chief of safety for Denver public schools, told Chalkbeat that fighting in the district has risen 21% from the same period before the 2019 pandemic.

READ: Colorado Sun opinion columnists.

Restaurants and stores near Cherry Creek High School began to ban students from their schools.

“Business owners and directors have called us in to complain about students using foul language, damaging property, treating employees disrespectfully and showing little respect for other non-student customers,” Silva wrote, noting that most of the complaints concern the behavior of freshmen and sophomores.

Support staff told Silva they couldn’t keep up with the trash thrown on school grounds and substitute teachers said they wouldn’t work in classrooms with some children because they are so rude and disruptive.

Behavioral dysfunction is rampant: fires started in toilets, bullying, food stolen from dining rooms, stolen or damaged office equipment, and the whole range of Tik Tok viral challenges designed to sabotage the educational environment.

(The prescribed December activity could put children on sex offender lists.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics diagnoses this in part as evidence of widespread mental illness resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, grief and loss, and disproportionate impacts on communities of color caused by structural racism.

To support their findings, doctors cited increased rates of teenage suicide and increases in the number of emergency room visits for mental health crises.

“More than 140,000 children in the United States have lost a primary and / or secondary guardian as youth of color are disproportionately affected,” the report released last month said. “We care for young people suffering from increasing rates of depression, anxiety, trauma, loneliness and suicidality that will have lasting effects on them, their families and their communities. “

However, not all outrageous behavior can be attributed to trauma.

Silva points to the most serious behavior problems that have occurred among first-year and second-year high school students, a situation so extreme that students in the upper grades began to complain about poorly behaved young students.

After more than a year without the structure and routine of the traditional classroom environment, as COVID precautions limited group gatherings, many children have been left on their own. Many simply gave up on distance learning and adopted the same cavalier attitude towards their teachers, fellow students and education in general when schools reopened in August.

Consumed by video games, YouTube, and other social media, the immature students never learned how to behave in the real world of high school. Some have completely forgotten the skills they learned in elementary school on how to function in society.

Insecure about fitting in, behind in academics and reinforced by the messages they received from cynical social media platforms, they set out to destroy the system rather than try to find a place in it.

Now the overwhelmed faculty members are begging parents for help.

“I am writing to you not only to share my concern, but to ask for your partnership,” said Silva. “Would you like to join us in talking to your child about appropriate behaviors when they are in restaurants, stores, classrooms and on our campus with friends?” “

Surprisingly, Silva asks parents to help teach high school students fundamental social skills such as “Say please, thank you, excuse me and sorry… Pick up your trash… Don’t yell in the hallways… Don’t run not in the hallways… “

This is not a joke.

During the lockdown, dozens of memes were circulated about parents realizing how difficult it was to have their kids at home with them all day long, and how suddenly they appreciated teachers much more.

“Okay. I can see it clearly now. It wasn’t the professor after all,” said one of them.

“At the end of our first day of not attending school for my children and our attempts to home school, my conclusion: teachers are superheroes. The end, ”said another.

And “teachers deserve to earn a billion dollars a year … or a week.”

Remember this.

Diane Carman is a communications consultant in Denver.

The Colorado Sun is a non-partisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the views of the newsroom. Read our Ethics Policy to learn more about The Sun’s Opinion Policy and submit columns, suggest writers, or provide feedback to

We believe vital information must be seen by those affected, whether it is a public health crisis, investigative reporting or empowering lawmakers. This report depends on supporting readers like you.


Comments are closed.