Dad’s Comic Sums Up Parents’ School Concerns Right Now

Dad and “Fowl Language Comics” artist Brian Gordon isn’t afraid to weigh in on the issues dominating the national discourse, from racial injustice to mask-wearing to premature reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This summer, he’s drawing comics about a big question now hitting families: what to do about the 2020-2021 school year.

“Like many of us, my wife and I are struggling with the prospect of sending our kids back to school in the fall, especially considering that our home state of Kansas has uncontrolled spread of the virus,” he told HuffPost.

Gordon, who deals with the added complications of a blended family (four children and additional co-parents), said that two of his kids will continue remote schooling, but they’re still trying to determine what makes the most sense for the other two. Last week, he illustrated the debate over schools reopening in a … fiery comic.

“Our kids miss school and they miss their friends, and we know that being in school is good for them emotionally and intellectually,” he said. “But first and foremost, we want them to be well and, frankly, stay alive. We’re grappling with the same Catch-22 that all parents are dealing with, so this topic felt very relevant for a comic.”

Gordon’s school reopening comic has received nearly 40,000 likes on Instagram and sparked some heated debate in the comments. He suggests it was meant to add to the discussion, not resolve it.

“There are clearly strong opinions on all sides of this issue and I get it,” he said. “Reopening schools is a complex issue. There were many fans who loved the comic and felt supported and heard, and then there were those who challenged me to propose a better solution than what already exists. Believe me, if I had one, I’d be the first to shout it out to the world.”

“I’ve also gotten a fair amount of comments suggesting that I ‘stick with the funny stuff,’” Gordon continued. “But unfortunately, all of our lives have become decidedly unfunny lately, and as a comic that reflects the life experience of being a parent, I’d be remiss to skip over the tough stuff. Rest assured, I look forward to writing about less catastrophic matters eventually.”

Ultimately, he hopes that parents and teachers who see his school reopening comic feel understood and less alone as they face a “hard and crummy and unwinnable” situation.

“I also hope it illuminates just how unconscionable it is to send hordes of kids and teachers into a school building when many adults aren’t willing to hold in-person meetings themselves,” he added. “For my part, I’m going to do right by what I think our family needs and can handle. That’s all any of us can do.”