Dear Editor,

I am Joey Sorrentino’s mother. Close to a decade ago, Joey made a few mistakes. He graduated from county college with an Associate’s degree, but with below average grades. He was drinking, acting stupid, and being very immature. He became a student at Kean University, still not doing great. Then an incident happened. I am not going to defend him, as I feel he was absolutely wrong. I told him over and over about how I felt and something like this should never happen. I told him he should have empathy for all human beings. I do not ever want anyone to get hurt, physically nor emotionally. I could tell you honestly that what he did really bothered him as well. He felt so bad about it when it happened, and always has. He knows he was wrong and regretted it immediately. We do not always know it in the moment, but sometimes bad things happen for a good reason, to bring change or to help us change. That incident was a life changer for my son; he actually grew up right before our eyes. He started doing well in college; he graduated Kean with a Bachelor’s in Special Education and History. He got a job in the Rahway School District in 2009 as a special education teacher and has been there ever since. He loves and helps every child he possibly could in that school and only wants the best for them.  It amazes me how good he is with kids and how much they love him back! He runs the school yearbook, chaperones dances, tutors and does extracurricular activities like coaching and running picture day. He continued his education at Kean working hard to get his Masters in Educational Leadership. He graduated from his Master’s program with a 3.95 GPA.  He was elected to the board of education in 2011 hoping he would make a difference in the lives of South Plainfield children. He has coached Keystone basketball and South Plainfield Eagles football. He is now in his second year at Kean going for his Doctorate degree in Urban Education. The whole world harps on how people need to change, learn, and grow from their mistakes. Well, that is exactly what Joey did, yet he is still being punished. Should someone’s mistakes follow them forever if they have really changed? I think a sincere change should count for something. I am always willing to give someone a second chance. I could see if this happened a year ago, but he was a stupid college kid when this occurred.  My son learned from his mistakes and changed his life because of it. I could guarantee that most people, if not all, have made mistakes in their lives, have done something that they regret or wish they had not done, me included. But that is what life is all about, learning from those mistakes, making yourself a better person and moving on. Why couldn’t the Republicans talk to Joey about stepping down with the knowledge they had about his past?  Was this done to ruin his life instead?  Darlene Cullen, wife of South Plainfield’s Administrator/CFO Glenn Cullen, tweeted this story to 24 high profile media outlets on Wednesday night (including FOX news, MSNBC, Huffington Post, Racism Facts, CNN) between 10:45 PM and 11:00 PM with the following hash tags:  #womanrights (sic), #bullying and #domesticviolence. Some of her twitter followers include Glenn Cullen, Borough of South Plainfield’s official twitter account, and Mayor Matt Anesh. I do not understand why she sent this out to so many nationwide accounts. It was already out that Joey had dropped out of the race, so why would she do this? I originally thought this incident was made public because the Republican’s were afraid that maybe Joey would win the election and they wanted less of a threat. But to continue tweeting this article to national news outlets after he had already dropped out, I have no other question than this: did she and/or the Republicans want to ruin his life? They went way too far and they should be ashamed of themselves. That is not setting a very good example for empathy and redemption. Actually, Darlene has nothing to do with him, nor our family, so why did she get so involved? Since this incident, Joey’s record stands for itself and nobody could take that away from him. He has worked very hard to get where he is today. He certainly did grow up and grow into a caring and empathetic man. My family and I are so proud of the person Joey has become. It is unfortunate that the Republican Party, and whoever helped them, had to go this route. They have destroyed a human life, the life of a man that had turned around and become a better person because of it. He is still not perfect, nobody is, but he is a million times better than every single person that had a hand in this. It disgusts me that people could be so cold and act so cruel. Not only did these people affect his entire life, character, and future forever, but they also affected his entire family. Maybe someday your skeletons will fall out of your closets; I know you all have them. South Plainfield used to be a loving, family oriented community, always willing to help their neighbors just like we literally helped our neighbor Darlene over many years. It is sad of what we have become.

Maryann Sorrentino

Editor's Note:  TAP into South Plainfield is an award-winning, all-online objective newspaper accredited by the New Jersey Press Association.  I routinely Tweet out our stories to other media outlets, as do most online publications.  For example, I did so with this story just this week:  http://thealternativepress.com/articles/booker-pallone-sweeney-and-pinkin-visit-mrp-to  Regarding the Sorrentino story itself, the story had been published by the Courier News (mycentraljersey) and posted on The Drudge Report before I even published the story, let alone Tweeted it out.  While it is convenient to blame Tweets and make TAP into South Plainfield the scapegoat for Mr. Sorrentino’s behavior, the fact is this story received broad publicity because it was news and to try to insinuate bias on my part, perhaps the Courier News, one of the largest newspapers in New Jersey, and the Drudge Report, one of the most-read online sites in the world, had a bigger part to play?  Ironically, they were not mentioned in this letter.