After closing public K-12 schools in the state of New Mexico for over an entire year to supposedly “mitigate the risk of community spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s ban on in-person learning left countless children without schooling and crippling relapses for many students. In many instances, children in rural areas could not access their “virtual” classrooms due to the lack of technology or wireless connection to the internet.
The damage the Governor’s lockdown caused was much more painful than merely the year of education many children lost altogether. Hundreds of children in New Mexico took their own lives in 2020 and early 2021, with New Mexico ranking the second-worst state for suicides. As for teen suicides, New Mexico ranked as the fifth-highest state nationwide in 2020. In July 2020, New Mexico hit a boiling point as the state with the highest rate of suicide in the nation, with the rate for children ages 4-15 increasing by 88%.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that around 12,000 “missing” children were going without instruction at all during the pandemic.
A mere month before the end of the school year, the late reopening of schools has been met with opposition by radical science-denying teachers’ unions. Some even claimed going back to school is still unsafe despite vaccines readily available and CDC guidelines updated.
Far-left state Rep. G. Andrés Romero, a teacher at Atrisco High School in Albuquerque, said he “worried that switching from remote learning to a hybrid model could be an added stress on teachers and students who already strained. He urged caution to districts considering the option,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Now, as schools are opening back up, Gov. Lujan Grisham is trying to capitalize as much as she possibly can, trying to portray herself as a hero for reopening the schools despite the countless New Mexico students who have been affected adversely by her strict and arguably cruel lockdown.
She posted a photo of her visiting a sparsely-attended playground photo-op at Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos, writing, “I was glad to have the opportunity to visit Aspen Elementary School in Los Alamos this morning, where students and staff were excited to see each other and to be back in the classroom. I look forward to a continued successful and safe re-entry to in-person learning statewide.”
On Sunday, the Governor shared a video made by teachers at Lew Wallace Elementary school in Albuquerque, writing, “Students & educators across the state are excited to be going back to the classroom this week & safely resuming in-person learning. The teachers & staff at Lew Wallace Elementary can’t wait to see their students again – check out this amazing video they made welcoming them back!”
The tweets come as Lujan Grisham appears to be trying to move public perception away from her strict lockdown and to her reopening of schools. However, New Mexicans will likely not forget her stringent lockdowns, which have cost the lives of multiple children and irreparably harmed the state’s teachers, parents, and youth for years to come.