Letter to the Editor:

When I became a member of the South Plainfield community after marrying my husband Bob, I was determined to become an active participant in the volunteer organizations that aimed to contribute to the positive growth of our Boro.  As a member of the Public Celebrations Committee for 12 years and the National Night Out Committee for 5 years, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a team that brought the community together to enjoy events like the annual Labor Day Parade.  I have also had the privilege to serve as a member of the Board of Education for 12 yeas, various PTOs for 15 yeas and the Education Foundation, where I have always placed the needs of the students above all else.

Through these committees, I am proud of the many positive changes we’ve been able to bring to South Plainfield, such as the Federal Judicial C.O.P.S. Grant that awarded us $180,000, matching grant, for the purchase of 125 security cameras to ensure the safety of our students, the Boyle Memorial Foundation that allowed us to build a pond in the courtyard at the Middle School that the students have been able to enjoy in-between their walks to class, and the formation of various athletic teams like the SPHS varsity swim team.  In addition, I have been able to meet and connect with members of the community and through these committees I often encourage them to serve alongside me on various organizations.  I am lucky to call many of them friends, and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together.  One thing I am not so lucky to observe is the reluctance of some to volunteer, particularly in a leadership position, because it’s not always easy to assume such a role without having some level of acrimony directed at them. 

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Recently, there have been some people who have taken issue with my leadership and engaged in personal attacks on my character, which were degrading and insulting.  Such was the case when I was accused of taking money from the Middle School PTO.  I was deeply wounded, as I knew the accusations to be baseless and untrue.  By being so accused, I was caused to endure a police investigation, that failed to reveal any wrongdoing of any kind.  I hope this shows members of our community that it is simply wrong to accuse anyone of any type of inappropriate conduct with irrefutable evidence. 

Likewise, I believe it is wrong to allow those in leadership positions to alter an organization's rules and regulations to diminish the voice of those they have had issue with.  This was done to me and others when it was ruled by the BOE in 2017, that a member of the BOE and the PTO could not hold executive positions in both organizations at the same time.  This was particularly true, as the State Ethics Commission had already decided that  there was no problem with a member of the BOE and PTO holding executive positions in both organizations.  The State Ethics Commission continues to adhere to that position.  

As a result of these issues, I decided to seek redress in the court’s legal system. The courts have ruled that I could not do so.  I accept that determination.  In so doing, I have not allowed my past experiences to dissuade me from moving forward in a positive manner for our community.  I would also urge everyone to refrain from name calling and attempting to silence those with whom we disagree.  Constructive and fruitful discussion should be encouraged, so that we have the ability to approach problems from all points of view.  It is only in this manner that we can strive to attain the best outcome possible fo our children and community. 

Debbie Boyle, South Plainfield Resident