Written by Laura Alyssa Platé , News Editor
When schools began to shut down while Piedmont was on break, I watched with a broken heart as Fulton, then Cobb, then Gwinnett and others one by one shuttered their school systems over growing COVID-19 concerns. My first thought was not hope that Piedmont would close as well for some extra time to catch up on sleep and work on my capstone undisturbed, but of the children across the country who were losing their food security when their schools shut down.
It was of the students, K-12 who would remain in their homes eight extra hours a day with their abusers. It was of the children who will be neglected while everyone is forced to stay in their homes. Schools are the number one reporters of abuse and neglect to CPS and DFCS. Without teachers seeing their students from day to day, rates of domestic violence will skyrocket and be underreported. Schools are so much more than the standards that are taught and the life lessons that are learned, though those are invaluable things.
Schools provide shelter for children without a house to go home to, they provide meals to students who don’t know where their next meal will come from, they provide a nurturing environment for kids who may only ever feel loved on school grounds. The halls of a school are loud and bustling, they are filled with laughter and tears. For better or for worse, for 13 years of our lives, school is our home away from home and the experiences that take place inside those walls shape who we become. Most people can’t tell you about any specific lesson taught in any specific year, but everyone has one or two teachers that they still refer to as their teacher.
Across the country, teachers, administrators and support staff are pivoting their worlds to make sure that students still have access to the best education that can be given to them. You don’t do that unless you’re called. We have tested and tested and tested our country’s students to death. I heard from a friend that a student will take something like 44 unique standardized tests during the course of their K-12 career. That’s what Public Schools have become known for, but that’s not the only role they fill.
If the Coronavirus teaches us anything, maybe it’s that schools should be palaces and the people who serve in them should be treated like royalty.