The email below and similar ones are being widely circulated today about the suicide of a student at Glenbrook North High School. It is difficult to read. One of a number of news stories about the tragedy is here.
Dear Governor Pritzker and Staff:
It is with great sadness that I am seeing my children and all youth in Illinois deteriorate, and I am seeing suicides increasing with your lockdowns. We experienced this in our own community last week with the most recent loss of Dylan Buckner, a star student, athlete, teammate, friend, brother and son at Glenbrook North in District 225. We were given hope for school to resume in January and given hope that athletes would be allowed to proceed. But this has not been the case.
See the below message from Dylan’s father:
Covid is a complex issue. I don’t have all the facts or any answers. But for Dylan, football was worth the risk. Like many, he tried almost every day, often for hours. Speed training. Weights. Nutrition. Throwing. Film. Mental skills. For Dylan, what was best for him was clear. He needed to be in school. He needed to be with his friends. He needed to be with his teammates. He needed to be able to play football.
I urge you to open youth sports and to actively encourage schools to open safely, as many schools have the ability and resources to do so. My son has attended Catholic school all day every day for 17 straight weeks with zero transmissions and all teachers and students in person. Without sports and school our kids are in great danger. Taking away sports seasons breaks the spirit of our youth. Athletics provides a social and emotional safety net for those who participate as well as helps kids build respect for one another, stay physically healthy, problem solve, develop friendships and build leadership skills.
Death from teen suicide far exceeds the threat of COVID from that same age group. Stripping away or further postponing sports seasons will directly and negatively impact our youth. You have the knowledge, you have the power, and we have the need to open up all youth sports and schools with the appropriate safety measures. It is time for you to do something for these kids. It is time for you to stop ignoring the mental and physical health of these kids simply because it is harder to quantify and simply because they do not vote.
You and the state of IL need to prioritize our children. You need to understand that you are destroying them mentally, physically and academically. You need to promote in person learning and open up sports to these young people, give them a chance.