Look on social media and you will find parents, students and teachers talking happily — some even joyfully — about the start of a new school year, which has already arrived in many districts and soon will for the rest of the 56.6 million students estimated to be attending K-12 schools in 2019-2020. In the best of circumstances, a new year is an opportunity to start fresh, make new connections and broaden horizons.
But you will also find another reality: fear and even horror for some children. Some fear school shootings; others, bullies. Reflecting the times we live in, many youngsters had to participate in active shooter drills on their first day of school.
And scores of children went to their first day of school in Mississippi on Aug. 7 while their parents were being picked up by U.S. immigration agents. At day’s end, the youngsters had nowhere to go. Many didn’t return to school the next day.
Here are some tweets representing the spectrum of experience and emotion that young people and adults have expressed about returning to school for the 2019-2020 academic year.
First are the ones that reveal the anxiety and fear that many young people face at school these days:
And then there’s the non-horrifying — and sometimes even joyful — stuff: