Forget whatever you know about kids actually being excited to go back to school after a long summer that ended up having more days than things to do.

Salon editor at large and University of Baltimore lecturer D. Watkins knows what it’s really like for students to head back to the classroom after a tumultuous summer where “growing poverty and widening inequality, the damaging actions and rhetoric of the Trump administration, and the constant uncertainty and destabilizing effects of violence” set the tone for the fall.

Watkins does touch on a problem not specific to Baltimore, but very much close to home: the city’s murder rate, which is rapidly approaching 300 this year. But as if that weren’t enough, the Trump administration is in the back of every child’s mind in every classroom, right?

Imagine being a young person now, turning on the TV and seeing the evil faces of white supremacy in Charlottesville waving torches while proudly spewing hate, or witnessing ICE snatch your friends out of your classroom in a school full of adults who have no explanation other than a leadership change in Washington. And then there’s the police shootings; victim after victim with police and officials not being held accountable. On top of it all, the constant threat of war. One day it’s North Korea, then it’s Pakistan and Afghanistan. Wait — does Russia own us now? It’s hard for me, an adult, to keep up; imagine what an 8th grader is thinking as he or she scrolls through Twitter and sees the president badmouthing celebrities and CNN?

What a missed opportunity — dude totally forgot to score a few points with rampant climate change hysteria.

Who knew we had it so good back in the days when the media had us convinced a nuclear strike by the Soviets could cloud the planet in nuclear winter? At least ICE wasn’t snatching kids right out of the classroom; we had Janet Reno grabbing Elián González at gunpoint.

Here’s a better question: why don’t we let kids be kids and help us celebrate life in these times?

Good start.

On that note, don’t offer counseling services just because a conservative might be speaking somewhere on campus this semester.

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