MILWAUKEE — Brednia Johnson-Allen was at home on Saturday when she got a call from her son’s principal at Marvin Pratt Elementary School.
“She called and asked, 'I have a proposition for you, and I was wondering if you would like to be a part of something,’” Johnson-Allen recalled. "She couldn’t tell me the details on who the special guest was going to be, and I told her, ‘Yes, I would love to do it.’"
That proposition was to participate in a roundtable discussion with First Lady Jill Biden.
“I was very shocked and I was very happy that out of the whole entire school, out of the five parents that they picked, that I was one of their choices,” Johnson-Allen said.
She shared the story of her son Xavier’s virtual learning experience. He was in kindergarten when the pandemic forced schools to go virtual.
At the time, she and her boyfriend weren’t sure how they’d be able to handle virtual classes on top of work.
That’s when her mom stepped in.
“Without her, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything,” Johnson-Allen said. "She was my rock.”
Johnson-Allen said her son stayed on top of everything he was supposed to learn, and was ready for first grade to start in person.
They got a small taste of it last year.
“He was pretty excited when I asked him when they opened up the last two months if he wanted to go back,” Johnson-Allen recalled. "He was like, ‘Yes, Mom! Yes!’”
She said she feels the school is doing all of the right things to slow the spread of COVID-19, like requiring masks to be worn indoors, using partitions at desks and requiring all staff to be vaccinated.
“It shows that they’re taking initiative and doing the proper things to make sure everything is good for these kids to be in class," she said.
Dr. Biden said she would be sharing Johnson-Allen’s story, as well as stories from all of the parents at the listening session, with President Joe Biden.
“Every day I come home I’m telling him stories, so he will hear your stories,” Biden said. "That’s why I appreciate what you all said today because I always felt that he would listen.”