Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, strongly backed President Donald Trump’s push to have schools reopen in the fall, saying it is vital to “stabilize our society.”
“Mr. President, you were right, and I hope you will trust your instincts: America is not meant to be shut down, and we have to reopen schools this fall,” Martin said during a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday, which included Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump, among others.
The conservative activist and mother of high school students shared that she put together a letter for the president signed by “over 150 doctors, 240 nurses, 330 educators, 70 national groups, and thousands of parents and concerned Americans who want to see schools reopened.”
Martin explained that not opening schools due to the COVID-19 outbreak is detrimental to students, parents and the economy.
“Kindergarteners and elementary school students simply cannot learn looking at a Zoom screen. If they could we wouldn’t need schools in the first place,” she said.
“The last place in the world a middle school student needs to be is online, unsupervised by adults,” she added. “They bully each other when they’re in front of teachers. You can’t even imagine what’s going on with social media right now.”
For young Americans, the strain of the lockdowns and social isolation is impacting their emotional health, Martin stated.
For the parents, particularly those who work outside the home, the strain is also great.
“As a single mom, this situation is ripping me in two,” Martin said. “You cannot be in two places at once physically or mentally.”
“It’s impossible to do what we need to do, so the schools must be reopened. It will stabilize our country,” she added.
Martin also noted the impact that not opening schools will have on the economy.
“Employers need to rebuild their companies,” she said. “They need employees at 110 percent to be able to do that.”
“But we can’t do that when employees are dividing their time between taking care of their children indefinitely, for who knows how long, and trying to get their job done.”
The mother argued in the end, “[W]e have to have a healthy respect for the virus and we have to be able to live our lives.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump pointed to the examples of Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden as countries that have successfully sent their students to school.
He added that he believes Democrats don’t want to open schools because they think it will help them in the November elections.
At the White House roundtable, the president encouraged government officials not to play politics with the issue.
“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons,” he said. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way.”
“So we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” the president continued.
“And it’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the wellbeing of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”