College student runs for KCK school board

Gary Enrique Bradley-Lopez has announced that he is a candidate for the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education. (Staff photo)

by Mary Rupert

Gary Enrique Bradley-Lopez, a college student, has announced his candidacy for the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education.

“I’d like to change the atmosphere and look the Board of Education has,” Bradley-Lopez said. “As a young person, I’d have a different voice and view.”

Bradley-Lopez, 20, was a student in the school district just two-and-a-half years ago, graduating in 2016 from Wyandotte High School. He received an associate degree in theater from Kansas City Kansas Community College in 2018 and currently attends the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Bradley-Lopez also was a debate and forensics coach for the school district from 2016 to 2017, when he received a stipend from the district.

He is currently chairman of the Wyandotte County Young Democrats and second vice president of the Kansas Young Democrats. He added he would resign the Young Democrats chairmanship when he files for office.

Bradley-Lopez also was the student senate president at KCKCC, where he helped on the presidential search committee.

He recently discussed several issues that are prompting him to run. He said he would place the interest of students first, and he wants to avoid the drama of the school board during the past year.

“I want to end the school-to-prison pipeline,” he said. He is in favor of ending out-of-school suspensions, he added.

In addition, he favors a conversation about how to hire more persons from Kansas City, Kansas. He said there is a need to hire more minority teachers.

Bradley-Lopez also favors mandatory equity and inclusion diversity training in the district.

He is in favor of restoring the district’s student board, and allowing a representative of the student board to have a voice at the district’s board meetings. He added he would serve as an advocate for students.

In the past there has been some micromanagement on the part of the school board, according to Bradley-Lopez.

He said he agreed with what the board was trying to do, but disagreed with its way of doing it.

“We can agree on the same issue, more teachers of color, but disagree about how to go about it,” he said.

Directly requesting more information from human resources is not the way to do it, he said. Instead the board needs to have conversations with the superintendent to address the issues, he said.

There also is a need for students in the district to be prepared for college, he said.

If elected, Bradley-Lopez believes he would be the youngest board member and first elected Hispanic board member of the school board. He added he hoped that his candidacy would lead more young adults and more minorities to vote.

Local elections are next August and November.