An alarming number of San Francisco students have committed suicide as a result of the prolonged coronavirus lockdowns, a lawsuit filed by the city against the school district alleged Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that the lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera includes “ alarming testimony from hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area, doctors and parents on the emotional and mental harms of extended distance learning.”
Allison Arieff, the mother of a 15-year-old daughter, is quoted in the lawsuit as saying she found her daughter “curled up in a fetal position, crying, next to her laptop at 11 am” and that she often cries during the day. Arieff added that her daughter is frustrated and “losing faith not just in [San Francisco Unified School District] SFUSD but in the world.”
The outlet reported that the University of California-San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital “has seen a 66 percent increase in the number of suicidal children in the emergency room and a 75 percent increase in youth who required hospitalization for mental health services, the lawsuit says, quoting pediatricians, child psychiatrists and emergency room doctors.”
The hospital’s Emergency Department at Mission Bay reported last month also reported “record high numbers of suicidal children seen and treated,” though the legal filing didn’t include an exact number, the AP reported. In addition, the lawsuit quoted doctors remarking on the increase of anxiety, depression, and eating disorders in children.
“The medical evidence is clear that keeping public schools closed is catalyzing a mental health crisis among school-aged children in San Francisco,” Dr. Jeanne Noble, director of COVID Response for the UCSF Emergency Department, says in the lawsuit.
Another parent quoted in the lawsuit, Lindsay Sink, says her 7-year-old son had experienced a “major regression” and is having “uncontrollable meltdowns that turn (the) whole house upside down.” Sink also has a 10-year-old daughter who is exhibiting “depression and anger.” Sink says in the lawsuit she worries her daughter’s “mental health will continue to suffer” as long as she is kept out of in-person classroom education.
As the AP reported, the lawsuit “is the first of its kind in California and possibly the country, as school systems come under increasing pressure from parents and politicians to end virtual learning.”
While students suffer, the school district seems more concerned with tackling race perceptions, focusing on renaming schools based on historically inaccurate information and debating the racial makeup of an all-female volunteer council. As The Daily Wire reported, the San Francisco school board spent two hours debating whether the gay father of a mixed-race child was diverse enough to sit on a parent advisory council that was currently made up of only women and had additional open seats. The school board has also spent time renaming numerous public schools based on a historically inaccurate Google Doc and claiming acronyms are a “symptom of white supremacy culture” while replacing one acronym with another.