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Dear Parents ... Public Schools Are Hurting Your Children (Part 1)

Sorry to be so dramatic ... but someone needs to get your attention. Your family and neighbors don't know. Your school won't admit it. And your politicians don't care.


What I have to say is not going to be easy to hear, but please try to keep an open mind. The stakes could not be higher. Nothing matters more than our children.



Introduction


One motivation for sharing this now is to seize on the crisis facing Democrats. Education has become a highly politicized issue. As with all politicized discussions, learning and understanding is near zero. However, Biden's debate performance was so bad, that many Democrats are questioning themselves. How could we have screwed this up so badly? Learning can only happen when you think you don't know the answer. Democrats have been losing their minds ever since Trump got elected. Now they are going to have to face the reality that they are almost certainly going to lose what should have been one of the easiest elections in history. Failure leads to wisdom. That's why power shifts back and forth between our two political parties. I'm an Independent...in part because it is a lot easier to avoid falling victim to tribal non-sense when you are not tempted to cheer on your team. I'm a citizen of humanity. We as a species need to learn how to get along and build a brighter future. Our children are that future ... so getting education right is how we all really win. With that in mind, I hope to help shed some light on a much bigger problem facing America than all the other issues combined...more than border security, global warming, police brutality, even the proxy wars we fight today in Ukraine and Gaza, and potential shooting wars with Russia and China. The biggest problem facing this country is what is happening to the minds of children, and how our public education system, despite good intensions from all sides, facilitating the mental health crisis threatening our future. Thank you in advance for your time and patience. Sincerely, Joe Lu CEO of WEquil Startups Co-Founder of WEquil App




The Rise of Homeschooling (Canary in the Coal Mine)


We started homeschooling during the pandemic. Our reasons were unusual. We did not have safety concerns, and we were not particularly unhappy with the public education system. Sumay and Aila had started their own school, WEquil School, to help support fellow homeschoolers...which is how I came to learn so much about problems facing schools and the education industry. Homeschooling has been on the rise for two decades. Growth was slow from near zero to 3% just before the pandemic hit. Estimates vary, but homeschooling never stopped growing in adoption even as the lockdowns lifted. Why? The biggest reason is Safety...and it isn't even close. One in four parents cite in Safe Environment Concerns as the number one reason, followed by academic quality. This is a big break from before the pandemic, when homeschooling was largely done for religious reasons.



Choosing to homeschool is a rather daunting decision. We know...because we went through it and work with parents every day facing this daunting decision. Leaving the traditional education system feels like entering another world. Families that go through this even have a word for it "Deschooling" ... a period lasting about a year in which you have to re-orient your own brain to being out of a system that had previously dominant the pulse and direction of family life.

If you are curious about deschooling I recommend listening to this podcast with Rebecca Ferree. She is a former teacher turned homeschool mom who is now on our leadership team:

Suffice to say that the continual rise of homeschooling, despite the lack of financial support, free public option, social stigma...etc...is a strong clue behind why parents should at the very least be curious about why.


Suicide School Correlation


One undeniable fact is that school attendance has a growing and strong correlation with suicide. Mental health can be hard to measure, but when people die, especially children, you had better believe that the numbers are real.


Children are far more likely to kill themselves during days they attend school. You can see this drop during summer months and on weekends...a pattern that evaporates after children graduate (or drop out) of school.



Adults show no pattern of reduced suicide during the summer. Only school aged children...



Schools have not always created mental health challenges for children. These correlations are getting worse...


"Compared with summer weekends, school-month weekdays from 2016 to 2019 show a pediatric suicide rate increase of 62 percent. The increase was 42% from 1999 to 2015." - Scientific America


School Shootings


Another undeniable fact is that schools have increasingly become the targets of mass shootings.


School shootings have been on the rise for nearly twenty years. Politicians have no incentive to be honest with you on this issue...because it is an extremely challenging one to solve (more on that later). So instead, both parties kick mass shootings in schools around like a political football.



America has experienced a 500% rise in school shootings since 2009, the same year Sumay was born. Something happened ... and it wasn't any meaningful change in gun laws (watch video above). Americans have always owned lots of guns, and simply being around guns can't possibly explain the broader mental health crisis.




Mental Health Crisis


To understand the problems caused by schools...one first needs to acknowledge the broader problem at large...children are losing their minds.


America's youth is suffering a mental health crisis ... and the damage goes well beyond children. The exponential rise in school shootings began at the same time as a lot of other disturbing trends...


... Depression


... Self-Harm ... Loneliness



... Anxiety ... Sadness and Hopelessness


These disturbing trends all mirror the rise in children having access to cell phones and the adoption of social media...which by itself is a very important clue, but only begins to explain the why behind what is happening to our schools.


What Happened?


Parents today are largely oblivious to what is happening in schools. They think they know. But they can't possibly know, because they are not the ones at the school eight hours a day, five days a week. I was in the same boat ... until the pandemic. But the real revelations came from talking to other parents joining WEquil School; discovering why they left, what happened, and watching them turn their lives around. Their stories can be summed up as follows...


Schools have become an extremely confusing and emotionally damaging place.


The reasons why are complex, but in part the root cause can be traced to how social media, cell phones, and the internet has allowed very damaging and mind-warping information into young people's minds.

The Story of WEquil App


If you are now to our story, you should watch the video below. How we got to be here is a long and complex story...but it really began back in 2016.



That was when I first discovered all these disturbing trends relating to the youth mental health crisis. We had never intended to leave the public education system. My wife has a doctorate. I got a masters. We even moved to Falls Church Virginia ... for the schools! Then the pandemic hit and we experienced life without School...and that life...was good.

Church of School


We did not shy away from telling our neighbors, family and friends about what we were experiencing. The girls were even interviewed by GoGuardian about it...there first interview of many along their journey building their global school.


That first year, everyone we knew was excited for us, and even engaged! But as soon as they found out we were not going back to school...something changed. At the time, I had trouble understanding why, but now it seems pretty clear.

Education (and parenting) are a lot like politics and religion.


You don't question people's beliefs, unless you want them to hate you. That's why stories you hear about people's children sound a lot like Facebook posts. That's why they are on Facebook in the first place! The goal is to cherry picking accomplishments and sell them as a casual updates."Nothing to see here...just my children being awesome...just wanted you to know". Parents that send their kids to public school were basically born into a religion. They don't realize it is a religion because everyone they know believes in it. Like the air you breath ...omnipresent. Like a fish in water ... the fish doesn't even know it's there.



So yeah...that was really confusing for a while. We basically came to realize that from the perspective of everyone we knew...family, friends, neighbors...we had left their religion. A religion so dominant that they view it as simply "reality". Moreover, we started our own religion called "WEquil School". Which they now view as threatening, because their children want to join. Religions are not necessarily bad. It all depends on their core beliefs. The "Church of School" has core beliefs. The most important one being that parent must have faith in the government to largely raise their children. If that seems like an extreme statement, keep mind that children who attend public school are there more hours than a full time job, must do whatever their teachers say, basically only have friends that they meet in said school, and spend all of their formative years their long past going through puberty. Trying to understand what it is like to be outside the Church of School is very challenging. That's why I am trying to take the time to convey the stories from all these parents who helped me open my eyes to what was really happening in schools...not just in poorly funded school districts...in schools right here in Falls Church, Virginia and the most "privileged" school districts in the country.


Sexualization in Schools


School shootings are terrifying...but if there was a competition for the most damaging and disturbing trend destroying schools...sexualization of our youth might be enemy number one.


When Sumay was nine years old, she came home one day from school with a rather disturbing story. One of her best friends told her that her dad was physically abusive. She also informed Sumay that she was a Lesbian, was in love with her, and wanted to start dating. This was obviously a disturbing experience for Sumay. She told me about it right away...because I had warned her this kinda thing might happen.


I became aware of the rise in sexualization in schools through my research into what was driving the rising mental health crisis. In Sumay's video on "The Story of WEquil App" she gets into those early years. Instagram was the one that seemed to deliver the most damage to young girls. Seven years later...Mark Zuckerberg was finally pressured by a near unanimous panel of bi-partisan leaders to address the sexual exploitation of young people on Instagram. Despite the national attention of this issue...many parents still allow their children to use Instagram. The only possible explanation for kids being on Instagram is willful ignorance at this point.



So there I was back in 2017 ... warning Sumay about sexualization of our broader culture, thanks in part to Instagram, but sexualization was coming from all over the place. You can't listen to popular music, watch commercials, or even sit through rated PG movies anymore without being exposed to sexualized content.

Disney is another example of how far sexual exploitation of children has driven our culture off the deep end. Warning ... this summary by Bill Maher of "Quiet on Set" is very disturbing.



Yes ... disturbing ... but also predictable ... because sex sells.


When I was in school there were girls who would wear revealing clothing, but nothing like what girls are doing now. Sumay and Aila both started seeing old friends from public school wearing what we now call "Butt-Cheek Shorts". These shorts are cut so high that you can literally see the bottom of these kids butt-cheeks hanging out.


There is nothing empowering about allowing young girls to wear sexually provocative clothing. 


Young girls are particularly vulnerable people. They need protection and guidance ... especially in a world that is increasingly allowing sexualized content to flow freely into the minds of their peers, and by extension their schools. Girls that are encouraged to wear sexuality clothing are more likely to become victims of a sex crime, attract men more interested in their bodies than their brains, and build a sense of identity around their physical appearance instead of their ability to learn, grow and create a better life for themselves and the world around them.


Being radically transparent and honest with my daughters is a big part of how I parent. Here is an example for parents that might find such discussions to be challenging. The key is to simply accept that you don't know everything, and allow yourself to have a conversation with your kids just like you would an adult friend.



So that's the back story on why Sumay wanted to talk to me about her disturbing day at school ... one of the "best" schools in the country ... a full year before the pandemic. What did I say? First, I told her I didn't know what really happened with her dad. Hopefully it wasn't anything abusive. But I was quite confident that at the ripe old age of nine, I doubted her friend really knew anything about her sexuality.

How Schools Spread Gender Dysphoria


Parents have always known that children are impressionable. Up until puberty they are practically hard-wired to accept information from their family and community at face value, and mimic the behavior and language around them. This is an evolutionary part of being human, so when young children say or do things, one should assume they are mimicking behavior they have observed...and that is in short how schools help spread gender dysphoria.


One of the most disturbing trends is the likelihood of being cancelled for pointing out the insanity of giving children puberty blockers and irreversible sex change surgeries. The topic has become weaponized by the political left, who I have historically supported in every presidential election so far despite being an Independent. Given the exponential rise in sexualization in our broader culture, and mental health crisis infecting our youth, one should at least consider the possibility that the new phenomenon of children taking drugs to stop themselves from having puberty, being allowed to have sexual body parts surgically altered, and the explosion never before seen sexual orientations ... be part of the mental health crisis.



No mental sound loving parent twenty years ago would think it healthy to stop children from going through puberty. Puberty blockers were developed to help very young children who, in rare instances, would start to go through puberty earlier than biologically normal. They were never intended to stop puberty...an application that Canada pioneered earlier than the USA. Hormone treatments are a business...children are the clients...and altering their bodies is the product.



Homosexuality ... being gay, lesbian and bisexual ... has a history that goes back thousands of years. The ancient Romans are just one example. Estimates very, but somewhere around 5% of the human adult population has a sexual orientation that is not straight. High school was when I remember some of my classmates coming out. A few were friends of mine. It wasn't a big deal back then. Being gay had already become a pretty normalized part of American culture back in 2000. What was not "normal" was exposing children to a constant barrage of sexualized content. What happens when kids are exposed to almost inescapable references to sex and sexuality from friends, news, phones, social media, commercials, movies, songs, clothes...etc...everywhere they look? The CDC surveyed over 150 high schools and 17,000 teenagers back in 2021 regarding their sexuality. More than a quarter (26%) said they identified as LGBTQ. Only 3.2% identified as Gay/Lesbian. I asked a neighbor friend who is also a teenager at the high school Sumay would have been attending what he thought of these numbers. He said he thought they were low...putting LGBTQ+ at about 1 in 3 students. He also said the study was missing an important category...the "Furries"...who wear tails to schools.


Disclaimer: No image of any actual child is used in this essay. The image above was created using ChatGPT4o with the prompt, "Create a very wide image of teens walking in school with furry tails". Where did all these new sexual orientations coming from? This mystery is not as complicated as you might think...especially if you have any experience working with children.


Part 2

There is much more to this thesis. If you would like to read part 2, please join WEquil App and introduce yourself to our global school! https://WEquil.App Sincerely, Joe Lu (Mr WEquil) Co-Founder of WEquil App



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