I recently spent a long evening talking about my opinion on the adverse and disproportionate punishment the pandemic brought to the lives of those who are struggling the most, families who are already just barely hanging on to the bottom wrung of the economic ladder and barely clinging to social mobility with the worn thin enamel of our teeth.

I’m not certain how families juggled the sudden crisis of childcare. With no warning, families—who are already just barely able to hold together the piecemeal patchwork of a life not designed to simultaneously fund the costs to raise kids, sleep inside, and eat food—had to scramble and find a way to have kids at home and still work enough hours in the week to pay the bills. On top of that life breaking stress, suddenly families had kids who were in remote learning programs facilitated by expensive electronics most people don’t have.

When a tablet becomes required to attend school, not a school supply to participate in class when already present (like a pen and paper), but a gatekeeping so enormously entrenched that the tablet becomes required like the actual school building itself, to even sit in class and listen to the conversation; when the tablet becomes the school building; when the parents have paid property taxes and been promised a public education for their kids; when the parents then have to purchase another school building in the form of a tablet which is equivalent to at least half a month’s rent, then the government & the tech companies who profited from those tablets owe the parents a refund.

Surely the tech companies could receive a tax credit for the charitable donation of a new school building to every kid in the United States, surely the government shouldn’t keep the taxes collected from the parents who had to buy a private school building with no notice to budget or plan; one way or another, someone stole the kids’ grocery money and should give it back.

Yesterday was the standard annual IRS deadline to file taxes and claim refunds, and I have yet to hear anyone mention any compensation for every kid in the United States’ school system forced to purchase a building to attend public school. It is possible someone has mentioned the necessity of said refund, perhaps I just couldn’t hear the conversation over the growling of all those hungry bellies. No kid wants to be the oddball out, when wearing your older siblings hand me downs & eating free lunches is a slow death via peer pressure, almost no kid is going to say, “I haven’t eaten dinner in a week, and our utilities got disconnected, because Mom had to buy a new tablet so I could attend school.” Almost no kid will say that for fear of being the only kid who experienced that, but rest assured and for certain that many kids went to bed hungry in houses with no utilities because they couldn’t eat the tablet & the school system wasn’t serving lunch.

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

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