Free Salon Schools / Kids

LETTER: Public Officials Are Human Beings; Let’s Show More Empathy

Maggie Kritzberg is a recent graduate of Columbia High School and former student representative to the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

SOMS Blast of Kindness Day

If there is one thing I have seen throughout our community via Facebook comments and other threads, it’s this: people move really fast to criticize and to judge others. With social media and the ability to hide behind a screen, it’s apparently easier to tear someone down, to hurt and to vilify. How sad it is to see adults (older men and women who have been around a lot longer than me), doing this each and every day. I just watched a video of someone in distress and panic; then people were so quick to drag her down.

While I believe that what was said in the police video and how the board member handled the situation was less than ideal, it would be nice to hear a little bit more empathy. I have worked with and have known Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad since I was the student representative to the Board of Education a couple of years ago. She is a good and compassionate person, and it’s a pleasure to know her. She cares deeply about the district’s children.

Voicing criticism doesn’t mean it’s okay to hurt someone. Talking about standards for public officials doesn’t mean we should pretend that they aren’t human beings with the capacity to make (and learn from) mistakes. And for crying out loud, if you want to keep posting the same news article over and over again, then let’s talk about what it means to further shame and embarrass others repeatedly, and for what? How does that truly move us forward?

If we want future generations to learn openness and compassion in relationships, in politics, in our homes and schools, then I think we all should start putting forward a better example, online and elsewhere.

Sincerely,

A CHS grad and product of our schools who knows we can and will do better

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