>Seeing how there is a vacant seat currently on the Middletown Board of Education and that the Board is currently accepting application to fill that seat, I wonder how many applicants or current board members know about a bill recently signed into law by Governor Christie, creating tighter restrictions on eligibility requirements of those that serve on New Jersey school boards.
Journalist Mark Spivey recently wrote about this in a column that appeared on various news outlets around the area titled “Member might lose BOE seat; Faces disqualification from ’68 drug charge”
…The bill “permanently disqualifies from employment or service” on those boards anyone who has been convicted of a wide range of crimes, including all first- and second-degree offenses (among them many drug-related offenses) but also more minor charges including criminal mischief, reckless endangerment or resisting arrest….
According to the bill, each of the nearly 5,000 members of New Jersey’s hundreds of boards of education is required to undergo a comprehensive criminal history and background check within 30 days. Board members are responsible for covering the cost of the background checks out of their own pockets.
Locally based Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Union, explained that the bill mirrors existing state restrictions on public schools’ hiring practices.
“If we prohibit someone from teaching in a classroom because of past convictions, then they definitely should be prohibited from presiding over the education of an entire school district,” Green said. “It’s a commonsense change that is long overdue.”
I wonder how many current, past or future candidates for the BOE have long buried skeletons in their closets from their youthful indiscretions; Potentially there are many, but should it really preclude them from serving on the board now or in the future after so many years have past? After all, the same standard isn’t applied to those seeking public office.
I’d like to see what happens if it is found that any current or past members of the Middletown Board of Education is affected by this new law. How will it be handle, will the public know about the real reason why a for current member’s was removed or stepped down or why a past member seeking reappointment was past over or barred from running again?
Now don’t jump to conclusions here on me, I am not making insinuations about anyone currently presiding on the BOE or who has stepped down recently. I am just pointing out the potential ramifications this new law will have on those that wish to serve on a local school boards, whether it is Middletown’s or some other town.