THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, October 4, 2019 Page 3 Luong and Bernard Face off for the Ward 7 School Committee seat By Barbara Taormina C atherine Bordonaro’s decision not to seek a third term representing on the School Committee left a wide-open race in Ward 7. Michelle Luong and Keith Bernard, two first-time candidates who saw some of the same problems among school families in their neighborhoods, decided to step up and run for the Ward 7 seat and the chance to make some changes. Michelle Luong Luong feels more needs to be done to ensure equity among the district’s neighborhood schools. She feels it’s unfair that Linden has the only program for gifted students, and she questions the practice of having much of Malden’s English Language Learning program based at Salemwood. Luong was concerned about bullying in schools before she jumped into the race. But after knocking on doors and talking to other families in Ward 7, she said she has realized it’s an even bigger problem than she previously thought. “I hear so much about bullying as I go door to door,” she said. “I think there needs to be a task force of parents, teachers and administrators who can work at strengthening our bullying policy. Parents want more done about it.” She feels the district needs Michelle Luong decision to run for a seat on the School Committee was based on her own experience navigating the district’s Special Education Department with for her oldest daughter who is a senior at Malden High this year. Luong said that experience was nothing but positive and she and her family always found the support and services they needed. So, in part, she’s running because it’s a chance to give something back. But she’s also keenly aware of what it takes to be an advocate for a child with special needs. “My concern is for people who are new to this country and Malden is their first stop,” she said. “I can see how parents can get lost in the system, especially parents who are from countries where teachers are revered and never questioned.” As good as Malden’s Special Education programs are, Luong said they can always be better. And she feels helping other parents understand how to become effective advocates for their kids is one way to move things forward. A lifelong resident of Ward 7, many know Luong from her years as a real estate agent. Others know her as an active participant in Malden’s Democratic City Committee and for her work on issues involving women and children. Luong said she will bring those experiences and skills to the School Committee where she hopes to work on several key issues. to do more to empower kids to speak up and to allow teachers to take back control of their classrooms. Luong is also passionate about enforcing the district’s anti-vaping policy and she supports investing in vaping detectors that would be installed in school bathrooms. As for Roosevelt Field, Luong is neither pro-grass nor pro-turf. But what she does support is making sure everyone has everyone has a chance to express their opinions and be heard. “I want everybody to come together and do what’s best for those kids playing on that field,” she said. “I want both sides back at the table.” Keith Bernard Keith Bernard has been working on progressive issues and causes for several years. Along the way he’s heard a lot of his friends and neighbors who have children in city schools talk different problems and concerns. “I’ve heard a lot of tales from parents about things they love and things they don’t,” he said. “Being on the School Committee was something I felt I could do to serve the community.” Bernard said he’s heard a lot of frustration from parents as he’s gone door-to-door to meet voters in Ward 7. People have told him they gone to school administrators with problems and they can’t get answers to their questions. He points to the sudden recent debacle over the after-school program as an example of the lack of communication between school administrators and school families. “I want to represent them,” he said adding that he believes in having conversations and listening to people. He feels he can bring parents’ concerns directly to the people who need to hear them Barnard feels that addressing racial inequity within the school district is a priority. “We have a diverse student population and a severe lack of teachers and staff of color,” he said adding that studies have shown that students of color who have at least one teacher of color have much higher rates of FACE | SEE PAGE 6 Lawrence A. Simeone Jr. Attorney-at-Law ~ Since 1989 ~ * Corporate Litigation * Criminal/Civil * MCAD * Zoning/Land Court * Wetlands Litigation * Workmen’s Compensation * Landlord/Tenant Litigation * Real Estate Law * Construction Litigation * Tax Lein * Personal Injury * Bankruptcy * Wrongful Death * Zoning/Permitting Litigation 300 Broadway, Suite 1, Revere * 781-286-1560 Lsimeonejr@simeonelaw.net AUTOTECH 1989 SINCE Get Your Vehicle Winter Ready! 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