A surge of student suicides across Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County School District to reopen schools as soon as possible, according to NYTimes.
By December, eighteen students in the district had taken their own lives; an early-warning mental health system embedded within computers and tablets issued to students for remote learning received 3,100 alerts since schools shuttered their doors last March.
“When we started to see the uptick in children taking their lives, we knew it wasn’t just the Covid numbers we need to look at anymore,” said Jesus Jara, the Clark County superintendent.
“We have to find a way to put our hands on our kids, to see them, to look at them. They’ve got to start seeing some movement, some hope,” Jara said.
Efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the country have led to drastic changes in the way children and teens learn and socialize.
Government data show a 24% increase in the number of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues from mid-March through mid-October, compared with the same period in 2019.
Countrywide, tens of millions of students have been thrown into a new distance learning environment that has resulted in many extracurricular activities being canceled. Recreational spaces have closed, sports canceled, and playdates shifted to Zoom calls, resulting in many kids developing mental issues, especially in Clark County.
Clark County administrators had GoGuardian Beacon alert system installed on every device given out to students after the sixth student suicide last year. The system alerted administrators of more than 3,100 cases where a student searched suicide-related material between June and October.
In one instance, a 12-year boy searched “how to make a noose” on his iPad.” Administrators quickly reached out to the boy’s parents as he was about to hang himself.
The alerts have been so disturbing to Jara that he doesn’t sleep near his phone anymore.
“I can’t get these alerts anymore,” said Jara. “I have no words to say to these families anymore. I believe in God, but I can’t help but wonder: Am I doing everything possible to open our schools?”
Dr. Anthony Fauci has called for schools on a countrywide basis to reopen safely.
An indirect consequence of the pandemic and forcing children to learn at home has contributed to a rise of mental health issues and suicides among America’s future generation.
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