(The mass exposure did not lead to any reported local outbreaks.). The states had taken very different approaches with regard to their young people, but ended up in almost identical places as far as their coronavirus tolls. No doubt, if my son had been in school on Monday this wouldnt have happened, he said. Theyre going to be taking care of us one day, and this is how were treating them? He noted that one student at the October protest had carried a sign that read, Im able to vote in your next election.. Already a member? Denver City is a humble-looking town, with a Family Dollar and no Walmart, but oil-and-gas revenues had allowed it to build a new high school two years ago. Even if New Mexicos overall numbers were holding steady, to those in Hobbs, three youth suicides plus a half-dozen other attempts by students in a matter of months in a population of 39,000 felt like its own epidemic. The next morning, I met Katrina Fuller, the mother of 11-year-old Landon, in the windswept parking lot of a strip mall. Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). She had swung the other way on reopening. Kooper was very involved in and loved being part of his church family as well as being a Christian. He would, in general, be getting to enjoy the experience of being Kooper Davis, a well-liked kid in a small city where the admiration flowed even from the youngsters he helped out at church, one of whom, a 9-year-old boy, was overheard gleefully reporting to his father that Kooper Davis knew his name. When Kooper was the only boy at Hobbs to make the Junior National Honors Society alongside 20 girls, Espinoza asked him if it felt weird. His parents encouraged him to aim for the Ivy League, but he knew its football was middling. Whats happening is that were taking away high points in peoples lives that give them reward and meaning. Koopers father, Justin, during an altar call at church in February. And it was so hard for someone of Landons age to grasp time; the six weeks of closure seemed like forever. After the death of junior Cooper Davis on Sunday, Aug. 29, the school has taken the opportunity to recognize the issues that come with the increasing availability and abuse of drugs. The stage was dominated by balloons in black and yellow, the Hobbs High colors, and large white letters and numbers, aglow with lights, that spelled KD 10, Koopers jersey number. And these were the grades that colleges were going to be looking at. The best thing we can do is to get them back to classrooms. For high school junior Kooper Davis that made all the difference in the world. But they said they were thinking of all the other kids in another way, too. This confounded Hobbs school officials, especially because they could see open schools across the border in Texas. As for teachers, there was no option: Their job was in the classroom. (Kooper had limited contact with his biological mother.) He was thinking about Stanford because it was a top academic school with a good football team. Were losing their leadership. Lost hope. Some players stopped showing up. Students wore masks in the hallways and administrators did contact tracing for positive cases of coronavirus, but everything else went pretty much as usual, including sports. The buses had condolence messages painted on the windows: We are here for you, read the writing on the bus from Portales. Last summer the town was in the news when a despondent 11-year-old who had loved school and sports had killed himself. For Kooper, autumn brought no relief. We need to be back on the field. He missed football so much that, on some Friday evenings, he headed across the state line to Texas to watch a game. Justin, who works for a company that services oil-field equipment and runs a lawn care business on the side, noticed the reaction his tall, athletic son was getting in . An entire generation between the ages of 5 and 18 has been effectively removed from society at large, wrote Maryland pediatrician Lavanya Sithanandam in The Washington Post. But Heather and Justin had just had newborn twins. I had an open relationship with my son, he said. I get the fear level, but we see models that show it can be done. well-documented fall-off in student academic performance, deaths by suicide in the 10-to-24 age group, If youre republishing online, you must link to the URL of this story on propublica.org, include all of the links from our story, including our newsletter sign up language and link, and use our. ), Statewide in New Mexico, the restrictions resulted in zero high schools or middle schools reopening anywhere in the state. These are kids without mental health issues, with good families, kids that are loved, she said. If high school teams arent playing football, there is no football being played. It had been a terrible month, and it had left her uncertain about the best course for the Hobbs schools and sports teams. We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. We need to be back on the field. He missed football so much that, on some Friday evenings, he headed across the state line to Texas to watch a game. Lets respect the ones who wanna stay home and respect the ones who are ready to go back!!. He was the first to come, and last to leave. My last visit in Hobbs was to the home of Jennifer Espinoza, Koopers favorite teacher. Heather Davis' son Kooper was 17 years old when he died by suicide last year. He isn't the only one that was crushed by sacrifices he should never have been forced to make. Menu penelope loyalty quotes. But the districts push to reopen was rebuffed by the state education department. That earlier pandemics victims tended to be in the prime of life, with mortality peaking around age 28. The school capped attendance at its field, and required people to register for tickets online. Its honestly ridiculous. They would come out with amazing answers. Kooper and Sam Kinney ribbed her about her tendency to lose her phone and took daily attendance for her. No football means no video to show college recruiters. There were counselors on hand, as well as Pastor Kinney, Sams dad. I asked if she thought school should have opened in the fall, and she hesitated. You cant republish our material wholesale, or automatically; you need to select stories to be republished individually. He told me that he had been running through his last interactions with Kooper, over and over, searching for a warning sign, to no avail. Koopers grandmother, Cindi Federico, with Koopers 6-month-old brother, Kroy, and his cousin, Izaiah Chamberlain, 9. (For example, yesterday can be changed to last week, and Portland, Ore. to Portland or here.), You cannot republish our photographs or illustrations without specific permission. He would be in school if he wasnt dead, she said. I found an empty space to stand in the back. He started playing organized football at age 5 and could not get enough of it. Even with fall sports canceled, the Hobbs school district, with almost 10,000 students, was still hoping to open the new school year for as much in-person instruction as possible. But he also knew how adolescents had the natural tendency to magnify troubles. Some precautions were taken, such as umpires calling balls and strikes from behind the mound instead of behind the catcher at home plate. It has been a difficult balance to strike, on both a societal and family level. For my older son, the baseball meant frequent traveling to tournaments out of state, in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Thank you for your interest in republishing this story. As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their circulation. There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which, copious evidence now shows, is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. 2017-2023 Tribute Archive. How come 10, 15 miles away, these kids can compete, can live a somewhat normal life?. He is going to continue to use him to impact those around him, and Gods glory will shine through.. Football Recruiting / New Mexico / Hobbs, NM / Hobbs High School / Kooper Davis. Justin and Heather told me how much comfort they were taking in the outpouring over Kooper, especially among his classmates. Menu penelope loyalty quotes. (Perhaps the only indicator of youth distress that is falling reports of child abuse and neglect, which dropped about 40% early in the pandemic is nonetheless worrisome because experts suspect it is the reporting that is declining, not the frequency of the abuse.). In "New Amsterdam" Season 3, Dr. Vijay Kapoor (Anupam Kher) contracted COVID-19, with much of the early part of the season revolving around his illness and the attempts by the hospital staff . But New Mexico schools and team sports didnt start up in the fall thanks to strict state regulations: After initially barring any schools from reopening in August, the state released gating criteria for districts that wanted to resume in-person instruction in the fall. He was an amazing big brother and had very close relationships with his younger siblings. On the way out of the athletic building, Kooper swung by to see the basketball coach, Eddy Martinez, to tell him he thought he might be able to play with that team, too, if the schedule that the state had floated the previous week actually came to pass: a truncated football season in February, followed by a truncated basketball season. There would be no actual games. In late April, six weeks into the springs pandemic lockdowns, the community had been stunned by the suicide of an 11-year-old boy, Landon Fuller, an outgoing kid who loved going to school and had, his mother said, struggled with the initial lockdowns. From the citys eastern edge to the Texas line is barely more than two miles. Like mosquitos carrying a tropical disease., In Los Angeles, county supervisor Hilda Solis, a former Obama labor secretary, urged young people to stay home, noting the risk of them infecting older members of their households. Copyright 2023 HotAir.com/Salem Media. The result of the abdication of federal leadership in 2020 was an atomization of decision-making that affected the lives and well-being of millions of people. Everything looks the same on either side of the Texas-New Mexico border in the great oil patch of the Permian Basin. Not only that, were losing years of their educational development., Kinney said his brother-in-law, also a pastor, had become seriously ill with coronavirus, and he did not doubt its danger. He played basketball, too, but football had his heart. In reading that, she had drawn a connection to American children who were being forced into a whole different way of life during the pandemic. As he left, he told Sam, in typically unabashed fashion, Love you. Love you, too, Sam responded. October 20, 2021. I knew he was pretty brave, but didnt know he was that brave, Sam said later. Please pm me if you or anyone you know could use a helping hand.. The coronavirus pandemic has been not only a health catastrophe, but an epic failure of national government. Its baffling to us to figure out why he didnt come to us.. How much distress was invisible to parents? The next day, a Monday evening, Kooper and his classmates held a demonstration for reopening school and school sports, one of several across the county that day. So that was the only thing that I can imagine what was going through his head at that time. He could think of nothing, other than the fact that he had noticed that one of Koopers grades had slipped below his norm. He had won over his ninth-grade English teacher, Jennifer Espinoza, with his willingness to engage on the works they were reading: The Outsiders, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird., He was very opinionated about why a character did this, or whatever something meant, Espinoza said. One thing that maybe our decision makers dont remember is that when youre in high school or youre a kid, thinking youre the only one dealing with something. Kooper Davis went to meet Jesus on Monday, December 7, 2020. The hope was that all this would be temporary. Around 8 a.m. Tuesday, New Mexico State Police personnel investigated a double fatal, single-vehicle crash on New Mexico State Road 31 at about mile post 19, east of Carlsbad, in Eddy County. In many parts of the country, particularly cities and towns dominated by Democrats, concerns about virus spread by children has resulted in all sorts of measures: closures of playgrounds, requirements that kids older than 2 wear masks outdoors, rigid restrictions on campus life at colleges that reopened. I chatted with some of Koopers teammates, asking them how they were handling remote learning. He didnt text you or put it on Snap. All rights reserved. I reached Justin Davis on the phone that Saturday, after learning of Koopers death from a mother in northwestern New Mexico whose daughter had also struggled with the absence of school and sports. I dont care how good a kid you are, if you have so much time on your hands, youre going to find mischief., He told me how dearly he hoped the state stuck to its plan for a football season, truncated though it was. She had been writing and calling elected officials and state bureaucrats and finally, with the help of the local state senator, Gay Kernan, had gotten the state to provide some training for local teachers in recognizing youth mental health troubles. In New Mexico, Gov. Celeste Sloman is a photographer and director based in New York. That was what the kids heard from the adults in charge, and they tried to believe it. He grinned. The day after that, Wednesday, a fleet of empty school buses arrived at the high school from other towns, one from as far as Clovis, 130 miles away. I have no doubt that God is not done using Kooper, he said. The challenge was less the lack of money than the lack of people to administer it: the state education department has only a single behavorial health coordinator, Leslie Kelly, who was struck by the rising concern about youth suicide during the pandemic given that the problem had existed for years in New Mexico. But when he heard the name, Stevens was stunned. And Kooper was a great student of the quarterback position; he had the intangibles, his coaches said. But Kooper hated virtual school. Every weekday morning except Wednesday, he got up at 6:30 a.m., drank a protein shake, then drove to McDonalds for more breakfast, before arriving at school at 7 a.m. for a weightlifting session. Frogxit: Harry and Meghan get what they asked for, Knock it down: Albuquerque tries novel approach to crime fighting, California high-speed rail costs going up and projected ridership going down, When you go after the Queen Consort, you'd best not miss, California's drought situation has improved dramatically, Not so fast: CA NOT going to shutter nasty old Diablo Canyon nuke plant, Don't expect Biden to drop by East Palestine. Almost every weekend, wed be back on near-empty highways, staying in near-empty motels, subsisting on endless takeout chicken sandwiches whenever we couldnt find an outdoor place for a meal. Its not necessarily that youre experiencing abuse, though some may be. Doctors are still uncertain whether children who survived that syndrome will experience long-term heart issues or other health problems. Kooper Davis Obituary. Over the course of the fall semester, about a dozen of the 70 staff members in the Denver City school missed time for quarantine, mostly after testing positive themselves, forcing the district to find substitutes no easy task, but not insurmountable. The only thing that I was able to find was in his journal, was that he had wrote that he was going mad from staying at home all the time and that he just wanted to be able to go to school and play outside with his friends. Researchers and mental health professionals had come to the conclusion that, as David Brent, a University of Pittsburgh psychiatry professor, put it to me, One thing thats protective against it is connection to school and family and peers. On Oct. 9, Heather went on Facebook and posted a plea for reopening. Kooper was born in Hobbs NM on August 9, 2003 and spent his childhood in Lovington before moving to Hobbs with his family, Father Justin Davis, Mother Heather Davis and his younger siblings, where he was an honors student, athlete and student leader. Texass response to the coronavirus was freewheeling. Find service information, send flowers, and leave memories and thoughts in the Guestbook for your loved one. Obituary. As the hot Southwestern summer dragged on, Kooper Davis and his teammates placed faith in that possibility. ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Its about lockdowns and the teens who are struggling and sometimes unable to deal with it. He is survived by his father and mother, Justin and Heather Davis, his biological mother Sarah, his sister Kynlee, sister Kharley, brother Kroy, and brother Kohen, brother Tayton and sister Emara, multiple grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, teachers, administrators, and coaches. Suicide is ultimately an unfathomable act, but Justin said he was sure of one thing. New Mexico as a whole had lost 3,145 people, two-hundredths of a percentage point higher than Texas in per capita terms. Kooper was very involved in and loved being part of his church family as well as being a Christian. You cant use our work to populate a website designed to improve rankings on search engines or solely to gain revenue from network-based advertisements. Theres no reason parents should put up with any further delays. Kids have been paying a big price for the lockdowns and for some kids its just too much to handle. James Davis's passing at the age of 79 . She opened it and found a letter demanding to know why Landon had been truant from his online classes during the fall semester. States, and frequently individual school districts sometimes even individual schools and sports leagues have been forced to grapple with emerging and occasionally conflicting science that has sought to decode the mysteries of a newly discovered virus. Theres a difference between a stressor that makes your life unpleasant and intolerable and a stressor that takes away good things, he said. Lujan Grisham would announce that schools could reopen for all ages on Feb. 8, but at maximum 50% capacity, which meant only a couple of days per week, and under the condition that they would close if cases rose again. But the primary concern from a public health standpoint has been the role that children and young adults might play in transmitting the disease to others. And there are the astonishingly deluxe high school football stadiums. The novel coronavirus, by contrast, has hit the elderly the hardest. The initial response is not as difficult as something thats stressful, but over time, the anhedonia, the loss of pleasure, is going to drive you down a lot more., Even before the coronavirus arrived, teen mental health was a cause for growing concern. Initially, practices with up to 9 kids were allowed, which meant they could do some drills, but in October, the state reduced that to four students per coach. According to Fox News, the Christmas tree was important for the mother as it has the ornaments hung by her son. United Realty, LLC Happy Hump Day!! Its trash, said one, Kevin Melissa. No doubt, if my son had been in school on Monday this wouldnt have happened, he said. If it would prevent another Kooper, then definitely, yes, she said. Doctors are concerned about possible increases in childhood obesity no surprise with many kids housebound in stress-filled homes while addiction experts are warning of the long-term effects of endless hours of screen time when both schoolwork and downtime stimulation are delivered digitally. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as theyre published. Menu penelope loyalty quotes. Katrina, a prenatal educator, had been trying for months to draw attention to the mental health needs of Hobbs young people. Kooper Davis could only watch from 30 miles away from New Mexico while the Texas teams played and the New Mexico teams did not. The county had suffered 112 deaths attributed to COVID-19, which worked out to a per capita rate slightly lower than that in the three Texas counties abutting Lea. All of our moods changed, she said. James parents said there were no obvious signs that their son was struggling. Despite the cold, two dozen kids, most in their early teens, had come out to the parking lot and were now doing various kickboxing exercises spaced apart and with masks on under the guidance of some martial arts instructors. The mother ensured the tree stayed the same way the way her son had decorated it and therefore, she wrapped it up with cellophane. In the large band hall, the band director showed me the dots he had taped on the floor to keep the 70-odd musicians spaced 7.5 feet apart even as they marched, and the cloth covers that one students grandmother had made, decorated with the schools mustang logo, to go over the tubas, to keep them from emitting moisture. Legacy invites you to offer condolences and . Then the screen played a long loop of photos and videos of Kooper: wearing a Halloween costume, holding his younger sister on the beach, wearing braces, buried in sand, grinning behind Justin and Heather as they kissed at their wedding, attending a Dallas Cowboys game, singing in a school musical, holding a newspaper with his name in a sports story, sitting on a hay bale, holding the newborn twins, wearing a tux for a dance. He liked his teachers, and they liked him. Artesia loves you, said the bus from Artesia. All he knew was that Kooper had been upset about the closures. The district, which offered daily and weekly tallies of cases on its website, determined that the vast share of transmissions seemed to be happening outside school, as research was finding to be the case in other places, too. Other tolls would be harder to assess, in a year of so much damage done, in so many ways. Since Im a junior, college is starting to cross my mind, and without this essential year of learning, I feel completely unprepared for college. New Mexico has consistently had one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country its roughly twice the national average and preliminary state statistics would later show the 2020 rate as unchanged. can stop at any time. For Hobbs and the rest of Lea County, population 70,000, that meant no more than five new cases per day in the whole county. No other kid in this day and age called, he said. His grades started slipping from his usual all-As. Theres too much hurt, Espinoza said as I headed out of her house after our conversation. So honestly when do we stand up for our kids?? We are sad to announce that on December 7, 2020 we had to say goodbye to Kooper Davis of Hobbs, New Mexico. Meals cooked by friends covered the island in the kitchen. This is, after all, the region that produced Friday Night Lights.. Hobbs wasnt even holding synchronous classes online for older high schoolers. On my final day in Hobbs, I made the short drive across the Texas border to Denver City. His arm strength had improved in the past year, so much so that his best friend Sam Kinney, a wide receiver, jokingly complained about the passes starting to hurt. Its hard to imagine the pain this family is dealing with and the questions about what they might have done differently that will probably be with them for the rest of their lives. A four-person band with two backup singers played Another in the Fire, a stirring song by the Australian worship band Hillsong United: There was another in the fire/ Standing next to me/ There was another in the waters/ Holding back the seas, Stevens was one of several coaches and trainers who spoke via a recorded feed played on the big screen over the stage. And unlike in many other, more Democratic parts of the country, the citys school administrators had the support of many teachers when it came to reopening: A survey in late summer found more than 70% of teachers in favor of in-person instruction. On Oct. 16, Kooper shared a grim claim from a state representative on his Facebook account, which he seldom used: The New Mexico Athletic Association reports there have been 8 student-athlete suicides since March 20., Kooper looked so alone and hunched over as he worked that Heather one day posted a picture of him online to share his struggle with others. Thats what you think when youre 16: Nobody is dealing with what Im dealing with. Not to mention, he said, that the closures have simply given kids too many empty hours. Please contact. I know Ive still got another year, but time goes faster than you really think., He continued, I just believe we should be here at school and we should be here playing football. One of the few aspects of this terrible pandemic to be grateful for is that it has taken a vastly lesser toll on children and young adults than its major precursor of last century, the flu pandemic of 1918-1920. Heather came to the stage with Koopers sisters. A key developmental task of adolescence is autonomy-building, said Jessica Schleider, an assistant psychology professor at Stony Brook University. Its crazy, said another, Carter Johnson. Kooper Davis's passing at the age of 17 on Monday, December 07, 2020 has been publicly announced by Chapel Of Hope in Hobbs, NM . These funds will go to future scholarship funds, football boosters and basketball boosters.. March 8, 2021: Due to an inconsistency in data provided by the National Governors Association, an earlier version of this article misrepresented three states COVID-19 case thresholds for reopening schools. She said she had started hearing from many other families around the country whose kids were struggling, including a mother whod discovered her 6-year-olds plans for how to end her own life. He was a straight-A student and the quarterback for the Hobbs high school football team. Just a few miles away in Texas, students were back in school and teams were playing a full season of games. After I chatted with Sam, I walked with his father back to his office. And these apologies are just some of the last words that loved ones will ever hear as they die alone.. Participation in sports and a connection to school can have a profound protective effect, according to David Brent, a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh. It was hard not to be impressed by the ingenuity, the determination to try to make things work, even now. Seth Titus lost two friends to suicide only months apart. If I had read that before, I wouldnt have thought that he was planning on taking his own life because I think were all feeling a little crazy right now.. The building has good ventilation, and enough space that it wasnt hard to spread desks to allow for 4 to 6 feet between them, even in a class of 20 or more. More than just scholastic considerations were driving this. After my meeting with Fuller, I went back to the church. Rigby. Well, were introducing them to a new society here, and theyre rejecting it.. The next day, Coach Stevens gathered his players and assistant coaches in the team meeting room to discuss Koopers death. We should be more careful with kids, wrote Andy Slavitt, a Medicare and Medicaid administrator under President Barack Obama who was named senior advisor for President Joe Bidens coronavirus task force, in a Jan. 3 tweet. The Davises were sufficiently attuned to the mental health challenges of the pandemic that they held regular family visits with a therapist, and Kooper had gotten a couple of solo sessions as well before he and the therapist decided that was no longer necessary. I reached Justin Davis on the phone that Saturday, after learning of Koopers death from a mother in northwestern New Mexico whose daughter had also struggled with the absence of school and sports. Check out Kooper Davis's high school sports home, including game updates while playing basketball at Hobbs High School. Its okay to put our stories on pages with ads, but not ads specifically sold against our stories. Kooper Davis's passing at the age of 17 on Monday, December 07, 2020 has been publicly announced by Chapel Of Hope in Hobbs, NM .Legacy invites you to offer condolences and share memories of Kooper in And I want his happiness more than I want mine., Pastor Kinney spoke last. joe and the juice tunacado ingredients; pickleball courts brentwood; tornado damage in princeton, ky; marshall county inmate roster; Plus, Kooper wanted to play with his team, his friends. On Sunday, Dec. 6, as semester finals were getting underway for school, Kooper was at church as usual, dressed as a baby for a monthly skit he and Sam did for the little kids. Explore the latest videos from hashtags: #hobbsnm, #porterdavishomes . Karyme Beltran has also struggled with the pandemic restrictions at Hobbs High. The adults encouraged the players to speak about what they were feeling, not to hold things in. And one weekend late afternoon in November, when it was below 30 degrees out, two dozen boys went to school to play touch football, the closest they had come to having a game. All Rights Reserved. how did kooper davis of hobbs die. For high school junior Kooper Davis that made all the difference in the world. A simple Google search will bring up plenty of others. My family was among those facing these decisions. For them, the primary release from the hours staring at the laptop screen would be sports, and for us, the answer was clear: My wife and I would let them play. But at some point in ways that werent evident to those around him, Kooper was overwhelmed. They were among the strictest in the country. Few people were wearing face masks. The schools in Denver City, population 5,000, had shut down amid the coronavirus lockdowns in the spring of 2020, but there wasnt really any question about whether the 1,700-student district would reopen schools in the fall. We have official accounts for ProPublica on. As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics.