What should we do to a man who was caught with drugs 40 years ago, was convicted of possession, did his time, got off drugs, had a good solid career and family, was active in his place of worship, and involved in the community to the point where he runs for school board and wins a seat?
a) Celebrate the ability of someone to recover from terrible times to make a good live and become a positive force in society;
b) Force him off the school board.
Well, New Jersey — based on Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green’s bill — decided that b was the proper choice.
The Star-Ledger is reporting that 186 school board members must step down immediately for failure to submit to a background check as required under new legislation championed by Assemblyman Jerry Green. The newspaper also has taken an editorial stand against the ouster.
In Plainfield, board member Rasheed Abdul-Haqq has already been forced out by the legislation due to a long-ago drug offense and the board is seeking an appointee to serve until the April 17 school board election. However, there is some confusion over who must approve the appointment, the board or state officials.
The voters knew very well about Abdul-Haqq’s past brush with the law when he ran for the school board, and they decided to put their trust in him anyway.
But who wants to trust the voters? Who cares about them and their little “participatory democracy” thing.
In New Jersey, apparently we do not. Instead we want to be judgmental and continue to punish good people for decades old mistakes.