Fall River parents to discuss pandemic and racism with superintendent

FALL RIVER – After a year of heightened educational challenges due to the pandemic and widespread upheaval related to racial inequalities, parents, students and educators will have the opportunity to meet with school principal Matt Malone to discuss the how the district can address learning gaps and racial issues.

“We came up with the idea for the forum so that we could have a discussion in the public, in the community, to talk to the superintendent and share our concerns and hear his ideas,” said Sandra Carreiro, an organizer for the social justice group. United Interfaith Action.

Carreiro’s organization is hosting two online community forums with Malone over Zoom in the coming weeks. Parents and families of students at Fall River Public School, the students themselves and local educators are encouraged to attend to ask Malone questions and voice their concerns.

The first forum will take place on Wednesday, May 26 and will focus on the district’s response to the pandemic. During a series of listening sessions hosted by United Interfaith Action earlier this year, parents seemed particularly concerned about how to help children who are academically behind after more than a year of education disrupted by the pandemic , Carreiro said.

United Interfaith Action organizers are meeting with Fall River Police Chief Jeffrey Cardoza in September 2020 to discuss the start of Spanish courses for Fall River police officers.  Over the next few weeks, the same group hosted two community forums to discuss education and racial justice with Superintendent of Schools Matthew Malone.

The second forum, on June 9, will focus on racial equity, something Carreiro said United Interfaith Action executives have deemed important following a mass anti-racism movement that has grown in importance. after the murder of George Floyd a year ago. Representatives of the group had smaller private meetings with Malone to discuss how the district deals with racial issues, she said, but wanted to give the general public a chance to voice concerns on topics such as school programs, diversity of staff and awareness of parents whose first language is not English.

Carreiro said the goal of both forums will be to have constructive conversations.

“We’re not trying to pin Malone and corner him,” she said. “It’s more like, ‘What are you doing, please let the community know what you’re doing, we want to communicate with you. “”

Audrey Cooney can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

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