Bacon Bits: Special Societal Dysfunction Edition

Parents can’t be trusted. Childhood gender dysphoria diagnoses leaped 70% from 2020 to 2021. More than 40,000 children received the diagnosis nationally in 2021, up from 15,000 in 2017, reports Reuters, citing a Komodo Health Inc. analysis. The number of children on puberty blockers more than doubled between 2017 to 2021 to more than 5,000 — 1,390 cases added last year alone. Against this backdrop, Charlottesville City Schools has declared its opposition to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s transgender guidelines for public schools that would give parents the power to decide the names, pronouns, restrooms and locker rooms their children use.

Can you say, “lower standards”? Ninety-two percent of Virginia’s public high school students graduated in 2022. That’s a tad higher than the pre-COVID graduation rate of 91.5 for the Class of 2019 — even though high school students in 2022 suffered massive learning loss during the pandemic and consistently under-performed the Class of 2019 students in their Standards of Learning test scores.

No, wait, don’t kill all the lawyers. We still need some. Facing high caseloads and a “dwindling staff,” reports the News & Advance, the Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney has made the decision not to participate in the prosecution of some misdemeanors. Commonwealth’s Attorney Bethany Harrison said the number of attorneys is 27% shy of what it should be. If police want to prosecute trespassing, drunk in public, altered license plates, or driving with a suspended license as standalone charges, they will have to handle the cases themselves. Unfortunately, the police department is suffering a labor shortage, too — with 28 vacancies reported in the fall of 2021.

What? Bus drivers, too? Add to teachers, policemen, nurses and other occupations suffering debilitating labor shortages: transit operators. With the exception of one week in May, Hampton Roads Transit has struggled to staff its dozens of routes, reports the Virginia Mercury. At one point, the authority was running 100 drivers short. The transit industry was having recruitment problems before the COVID epidemic, but shortages have gotten worse. Base pay for bus drivers in Hampton Roads is $20 an hour, with top operators earning up to $27 an hour. But pay isn’t the biggest issue, says the Mercury — it’s working conditions.

What could go wrong? The City of Richmond is on track to create a citizen review board (CRB) to investigate police misdeeds. An argument has broken out over how much power to give the entity, reports VPM News. A social-justice group, the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project, seeking to end mass incarceration, laments that the board would have “the fewest powers of any CRB in the state of Virginia.” Mayor Levar Stoney is trying to thread the needle between holding police officers accountable while also showing “appreciation” for the work they do. The department has more than 100 vacancies and Police Chief Gerald Smith says a strong review board could hurt morale even more.

Let me guess, a deputy shortage as well? Accused killer Stone L. Colburn — the scary-looking dude shown to the left who was accused of killing his brother’s girlfriend– was mistakenly released from Loudoun County jail last week. Fortunately, he was arrested Friday in Chatham County, Ga. The finger pointing has begun over who is responsible for the release. Colburn’s attorney was planning to argue that his client was mentally incompetent and should be assigned to the Central State mental facility rather than prison. After a complex sequence of legal developments in which the sheriff’s department concluded that the murder charge was dismissed, Colburn was released from custody. Sheriff Mike Chapman told Channel 4-Washington he was still sorting out what happened.