LA CROSSE, WIS — The recent announcement of the public schools in La Crosse County starting the school year on a virtual platform have left some parents fuming.
Understandably so. They are now stuck with the challenge of having to find child care, make sure their child has a device to access the virtual learning platform, and make sure they have an internet speed that can stream video meetings – just to name a few hurdles. But one of the biggest complaints by parents who admonish the district for making this difficult decision says that the biggest problem this creates is the lack of child socializing.
One family in particular are voicing their concerns loud and proud.
When Denise and Eric Sixschlitzes learned that their 13-year-old son Zeke was going to be home to start the school year, they only had one thing on their mind: socializing.
“How is Zeke supposed to learn social skills if he is not around other kids,” Mr. Sixschlitzes rhetorically asked as Zeke sat in his bedroom playing Fortnite for the 12th straight hour. “There is just no other way or place for kids to socially interact. There is only school!”
This theory of the Sixschlitzes is described as “American Research.” Where – despite there being absolutely no empirical data that shows students who are home schooled suffer a lack of social skills, and that deficits (without diagnosed disability) are often attributed to the nurturing in home environments – the Sixschlitzes are sticking to their unfounded theory because they “feel it in their gut.”
“School is the place for kids to socialize, isn’t’ that right, Zeke?” Mr. Sixschlitzes said to an unresponsive Zeke. “ZEKE! Your father is asking you a question!”
“I hear you. Gawd!” Zeke screamed back, “What do you want?”
“Zeke. The nice people from the newspaper are here to talk about how important it is to socialize at school,” Mrs. Sixschlitzes explained. “How do you feel about virtual school?”
“It’s stupid,” Zeke replied.
“You see,” Mr. Sixschlitzes affirmed. “He hates virtual school.”
“Actually, all school is stupid,” Zeke interrupted, “but at least with virtual school I can choose when to do work, I can work in my bedroom, and I usually get my work done really quick!”
Despite the Sixschlitzes complaints, when (or if) face-to-face school starts up again, it will look drastically different including student cohorts, face coverings, 6 foot distancing, no group work, alternating hallway transitions, alternate lunch locations, and staggered bus loading times. To paraphrase, the socializing in school will be severely hindered anyway.
Mrs. Sixschlitzes then added, “Without school, he just sits in his bedroom all day playing video games.”
“Whose fault is that?” Zeke retorted from the bedroom.
“You need to go to school to see your friends,” Mr. Sixschlitzes interjected.
“No I don’t,” Zeke retorted, “I’m talking to my friends right now on Fortnite.”
“But what about when you’re not playing video games?” Mrs. Sixschlitzes challenged.
“Oh, golly. Never thought of that,” Zeke replied with a mouthful of sarcasm, “If only we had tiny supercomputers in our pockets with embedded applications that had the ability to video call, voice call, send text messages, or electronic mail along with dozens of other social media platforms. Wow. You guys really have no idea how kids socialize in 2020, do you? THE MALL IS NO LONGER A THING, MOM AND DAD!”
“Look… I… you… kids NEED to be in school!” stated a befuddled Mrs. Sixschlitzes.
“In other words, you want free babysitting, cheap meals made for me, and free busing to and from our doorstep,” Zeke asserted. “You want convenience, and you can’t have it because there’s a global pandemic.”
The Sixschlitzes immediately ended the interview.
Reporter Dr. Jonathon H. Dong contributed to this article.