When 11-year old Davon McNeal was murdered on July Fourth while attending a Stop the Violence cookout with his mother in Southeast, gasps could be heard across the region from people stunned to listen to the sad news. Unfortunately, Davon is not the only child killed in the area by the hands or wanton acts of adults and other youths. It’s a sad reality with no solution that brings comfort and solace to the children who seek and need it.

On one of several marches held in Davon’s honor, a young child in attendance was heard asking if adults are trying to kill them. Reportedly, adults attempted to comfort her by telling her their job is to protect children, not harm them.

COVID-19 has exacerbated a litany of unfortunate circumstances besetting every aspect of life as we know it. From job losses, business shutdowns, sickness and deaths, this pandemic has crept into the home where people were encouraged to stay safe. For children, the crisis is not as much a health problem, as it is a psychological one. According to a recent report by UNICEF, the pandemic “is a universal crisis, and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong.”

School closures, lack of outdoor activities and other abnormal eating and sleeping habits are harmful, especially to children. Incidences of domestic violence, child abuse and access to adult content online are reportedly on the rise.

There are resources for parents and adults to help address children’s concerns and help parents keep their children active and healthy during this uncertain time. Talking to children is critical and allowing them to discuss their concerns, fears, hopes and dreams are necessary.

As summer ends and children look forward to going back to school, school districts are considering whether to fully open or adopt a hybrid version of in-class and distance learning. On the other hand, parents must also decide what’s best for their child but many won’t have options. Children are watching and listening and worrying about what will happen to them. It’s a consequence of this pandemic that we cannot take for granted or ignore.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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