Two weeks ago, Ralph Johnson was restored to his elected seat on the Piscataway Board of Education, after a judge and the state Commissioner of Education found he had been wrongfully removed. I’ve been waiting to hear an apology from the Board members who voted him off, the so-called “Better, Safer Schools” slate. But clearly, they don’t have the grace to admit their actions were harmful and wrong.
The judge and Commissioner ruled that there was no case here. The excuse that Board President Shelia Hobson used was about Ralph’s attendance, even though the Board’s minutes counted him as present. Certainly, there was nothing “better or safer” about their actions against Ralph, taken in the middle of a pandemic while he worked as a first responder.
So why did Hobson and the rest of the “Better, Safer” members push ahead? One can only conclude that it was a feeble attempt to punish an independent candidate who wasn’t beholding to their team, the Wahler political machine. Apparently, they just want to make it hard for anyone who challenges politics as usual in Piscataway, which Ralph has done as a three-term school board member and township council candidate.
An apology is also owed to the residents of Piscataway. As the hearing judge stated, the effort to unseat Ralph “undermined the will of the public who elected him,” last November 2019. The “Better, Safer” BOE members insulted voters—and also wasted taxpayer time, money and energy—when they should have been focusing on how to provide the best possible education under Covid conditions.
Good schools are Piscataway’s greatest asset. We, the voters, should back candidates who want an independent school board that will always put kids first. That’s why I’m voting for Tom Connors, Shantell Cherry and Zoe Scotto, Column 2 in this November’s school board election.
Ann Bastian, 113 Fountain Ave.