Education has never been one-size-fits-all, and under a pandemic that truth rings even louder than ever. For those with the financial means or strong support systems, virtual learning is a somewhat realistic fix. For those without the means, districts are scrambling to provide wifi hotspots and chromebooks in an attempt to level the playing field. But the inequities are much deeper than technology and supplies. 

For example, we all know young girls who are second parents to their younger siblings. Heck, many women reading this will be able to relate to practically raising their brothers and sisters while their mom worked odd shifts or multiple jobs just to keep the bills paid. All over the country, girls as young as 4th and 5th grade are responsible for getting younger siblings dressed in the mornings and putting them to bed at night. 

For these girls, school is the only place where they actually get to be a kid. Many walk into the school buildings and gladly shed “adulthood” and take their rightful place as a child. Others struggle to make the shift and constantly buck authority because where they come from they’re “grown” too. 

Seasoned educators recognize those adultified girls right away and do their best to nurture (not punish) those girls into their correct roles while in school. But what happens when the second-parent role and the student role collide? How does a 9th grade girl who is responsible for her elementary-aged siblings act as both a student and a mom in the virtual learning world? 

It’s hard enough for parents who work remotely to supervise virtual learning. Now imagine the stress a teenager feels when she’s supposed to log in for algebra, but needs to monitor her little brother so he won’t tear up the house. Imagine her frustration when she has to make sure her little sisters get logged in for their classes, but she doesn’t have a quiet space to tune in for her own. How does she realistically keep an eye on them and focus on her own education? 

She doesn’t. She can’t. She shouldn’t have to try.

These girls (and sometimes boys) will be the overlooked victims of a virtual world that didn’t take their real-life circumstances into consideration. Don’t get me wrong, I get that some districts don’t feel that they can safely have hundreds of kids in buildings. The virus is still spiking in many cities and the safety of our students and educators should be at the forefront of all decisions. 

I get it, and this is in no way a plea to push people back into unsafe environments. Teachers unions are speaking up for the educators and they should. Parents are making decisions that best fit their circumstances, and they should. But who is advocating for the children?

And again, I get it. The virus has pushed us all to the edge, but what happens to those who were already living in the margins? I apologize if you came to this post hoping I had answers. I don’t have them. Just know that when you are on that virtual classroom call and you ask that student who is also filling the role of a parent about the questions on page 3 of her assignment, she won’t have answers either. She’s busy.

Thanks for reading and remember to be a blessing to someone today.

Angela has worked in corporate and advertising sales for over 20 years. She is a
Summa Cum Laude graduate of Central State University where she is a very active
aluma and founder of their Homecoming Visiting Alumni Day
Mrs. Davis is actively involved in her church community where she has served as
writer/director for many of the spirit-filled dramatizations produced by the Omega
Baptist Church, including Black Nativity, Reunion Choir Concert, Black History
Productions and the City-wide Resurrections Productions at UD Arena that attracted
over 7,000 people. She has also served as Ministry Leader for the church Adabar
Ministry where she was responsible for the organization of church-wide celebrations.
She has also served her community as an associate board member for the Mustard
Seed Foundation, board member for I Am My Sister’s Keeper Foundation of Lima,
Ohio and classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement. She also served as chair for
the rebirth of the Miss Opportunity Pageant for the Bradfield Community Center,
with the goal of celebrating teenage girls in our community. For the past 7 years
she has traveled the region with her anti-bullying workshop titled “No More Mean
Girls” targeted at middle school and high school girls. Her newest training is
#BlackGirlsMatter, addresses the adultification and criminalization of black girls
and is designed for parents and educators.
She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Angela is married to
Tyrone Davis and is the mother of two daughters, Tylar and Rylee


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here