The Los Angeles County Office of Education Loses Its Damn Mind

The school-to-prison pipeline in Los Angeles County just got a whole lot shorter. In fact, for the coming school year, it will disappear entirely!

Now they will waste no time. The schools themselves will become prisons. That, at least, is the gist of a recently released document, “A Planning Framework for the 2020-2021 School Year” by Dr. Debra Duardo, superintendent of L.A. County Schools. There she lays out her COVID-19 guidance for the fall. It’s filled with educational jargon about “stakeholders” and “bargaining units,” brightly color-coded tables, and 44 pages of decision matrices, templates, and flow charts.

But the core point remains: Duardo’s “best practices” for schools recommend treating children like prisoners—assuming the schools reopen at all.

She calls for placing “seats 6 feet apart,” installing “floor markings to illustrate social/physical distancing,” and providing students with “lunch and/or meals in supervised, non-congregate settings” that “avoid sharing tables whenever possible.” 

Staggered recesses and different entry and exit points for all students and staff are a must. “Cloth face coverings” should be worn all day long, of course. Duardo imagines a typical classroom stripped of all furniture to allow for a maximum number of 16 students. 

In a particularly jarring line, Duardo explains why this must be done: “to limit people encounters.” The annihilation of basic human interaction and social life is a small price to pay to confront the coronavirus! 

This thinking forces children to live in perpetual fear under onerous mandates and regulations. It treats them as prisoners. Even walking from one place to another will not be done freely in schools under the “new normal” in the nation’s most populous county. 

Children should not live this way. Americans cannot allow bureaucrats to treat our children in such a despicable and unwarranted manner. 

These students need friendship and playtime. They need the ability to see each other, to smile and laugh. They need to be able to share books and toys. They absolutely do not need to be subjected to the unnecessary fear of neurotic adults with no sense of proportion or reality.

In Los Angeles County there have been some 2,000 COVID-19 deaths. That works out to roughly 1 in every 4,600 Angelenos having died this year from the illness. For reference, roughly 1 in every 140 Americans dies annually. Coronavirus, therefore, makes up only a minute percentage of overall deaths in Los Angeles County. And that’s among the whole population. When it comes to children, the coronavirus is virtually no threat at all.

In 2018, 186 American children died from seasonal influenza. As of May 28, there have been 90 coronavirus deaths in Americans aged 0 to 24. Even with an expanded age range, the number of coronavirus deaths among young Americans is still far lower than pediatric deaths from the annual flu! Put another way, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 15,050 Americans between the ages of 0 and 24 have died this year—which means this group is 167 times more likely to die from any cause other than COVID-19.

According to the California Department of Health, zero percent of the coronavirus deaths in L.A. County is attributable to children under the age of 18.

Zero percent.

The risk of death to children from this illness in the county isn’t just minuscule—it is nonexistent. 

None of the “health and safety” measures being put in place by Los Angeles County has anything to do with the health or safety of students or even teachers and staff. There is no conclusive evidence that placing desks six feet apart, wearing face masks, or establishing specified “ingress and egress points” will reduce the transmission of the coronavirus in the general population or among students. 

But even if they did, it still would not answer the question of whether we must sacrifice the spiritual, mental, and educational well-being of our children to this illness. Is the risk of death so high that we must imprison our children? 

Absolutely not. What Duardo and her staff want to do to our children is insane. 

Americans should not submit to their crazed whims. We certainly should not subject our children to them. 

About Josiah Lippincott

Josiah Lippincott is a former Marine officer and current Master's student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

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