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School board chair apologizes for ‘mean’ remarks to Grade sixer

Sherry Tung, a Grade 6 student, was taken aback by a comment made by Langley board of education chair Wendy Johnson at Tuesday
Sherry Tung, a Grade 6 student, was taken aback by a comment made by Langley board of education chair Wendy Johnson at Tuesday's meeting. Sherry said she thought the comment was 'mean' but Johnson said it was simply an attempt to be humourous.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

When Langley Grade 6 student Sherry Tung said she was sometimes late for classes because her school is so far away from her home and there was road construction along the route her parents drive, school board chairperson Wendy Johnson had a solution.

“Maybe you should organize your family better so they get up earlier,” Johnson told Tung, when the soft-voiced pre-teen spoke in favor of keeping the Routley school property at the Tuesday night school board meeting.

The chair’s comment drew groans, catcalls and boos from the audience.

Johnson said she didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings and if she had, she was sorry.

Tung was taken aback.

“I think it’s kind of mean,” she told The Times as the meeting was wrapping up.

Moments later, Johnson approached Tung and her mother to make a direct apology, saying she was trying to make a joke to lighten the mood.

“It was not meant in a malicious way,” Johnson said, adding she had the utmost respect for Tung’s bravery in speaking before a public meeting.

Tung said she accepted the apology, but some parents in the audience seemed less less forgiving, complaining that the remarks showed the board doesn’t take their concerns seriously.

 

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