Christine Bernstein: My Position

Los Alamos Public Schools Board Member

As we near the next school board meeting, I find myself  reflecting on the current news from our Governor about starting back to school.  

The last time this was on the table there were a lot of discussions and assumptions made as to how I might vote, about my recusal, about where I stand.  I was accused of making a decision to benefit myself, I was asked to resign and to quit my business.  No one asked me what I thought, what I believed or what I would actually do.  No one tried to talk to me, only tell me what to do. Actually, I am wrong,  one person actually asked me and had a conversation with me.  

I figure now is the time for transparency.  I would like to avoid speculation and assumptions.  So, I am here to let the community know where I stand and what my own personal thoughts are as a community member, a parent, an educator, a business owner and  an elected official.

I am all for school in any format that will help our students feel safe and allow them strong learning opportunities.  I have been in a position working with  small numbers of students as well as my own children to see what school looks like right now.  I have spoken with students, parents and teachers and have received numerous emails.  There is no one answer or one prevalent opinion.  I have been listening.

When I ran for school board and took the position my intent was and continues to be to listen and to support decision-making that will benefit learning for our students.  That has been and always will be my bottom line- what is best for kids.  Of course, we may all have differing opinions about what is best, but I am listening. 

 I started my business to help families and kids.  I knew that teaching online was going to be a miserable experience for a lot of people and I wanted to find ways to make it at least tolerable for some. Including myself. I knew I needed to do something different. 

I am not concerned about the business.   However, I am concerned about the youth in our community.  There are some days that I cry for them, and others when I laugh with them.  And I always  advocate for them.  I have been and always will be an advocate for kids.  It is who I am and it is my purpose.  

When I ask them  if they want to go back to the classroom they say yes, when I ask why they say,  “Because I want to see my friends.”  It has nothing to do with learning.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me and say “It doesn’t matter what the kids think…we know what they need, they’re just kids”  In a town where we worry about suicide, I do think it matters what they think.  I do think they deserve to be heard.

And I am listening.  

I made a promise to myself when I ran for this office.  I promised myself that I would remain ethical and act with integrity.  And I continue to make that choice every day.  And I will make that choice in my role as a school board member.

 I spoke with the assistant attorney general.  I was told I am doing nothing illegal, however there could be the perception that I am acting to benefit myself financially.  If anyone perceives that, feel free to come at me.  I believe that when we do the right thing, we win.  

I have done nothing wrong.  I am acting ethically. I have not used my position for financial gain.  I will act on the interest of our kids and teachers.  

I plan on keeping my business going.  It may mean I make changes to meet a new and different need for our youth.  I love what I am doing.  I love the kids I work with.  I do not fear change.  I have other ideas brewing that I will pursue.   I will continue to act ethically and with integrity.  That being said.  I plan on voting.   I am listening, keep talking.

I encourage you to speak with me.  Ask me questions.  Bring me your concerns and fears and even your opposition.  I am always up for a good debate.  All I ask is do not assume what I think or what I will do.  Just ask me.