Maplewood Police and Fire Schools / Kids South Orange

Pai: Lawson-Muhammad’s Behavior Was Disappointing — But Community Must Move Forward

[Editor’s note: Madhu Pai is a member of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. The opinions expressed in this letter are her own.]

May 25, 2018

To the Editor:

The South Orange Maplewood Board of Education has committed to four critical goals to move our school district forward. We do not have the time or energy for the distraction and community divide that has been created by what is politely labeled “the traffic stop incident.”

On a personal level, I hope those within and outside of our community will respect the privacy and well-being of [BOE member Stephanie] Lawson-Muhammad and her family while they take the time and create the space necessary to move forward from this incident. I encourage everyone to please consider the impact of their words and actions in this very public matter.

Suffice it to say, all of us can learn from the words and actions of South Orange police officer, Shaun Horst. He modeled what good and respectful law enforcement should look like. He exhibited the best of our community.

I am disappointed with Ms. Lawson-Muhammad’s words and actions, including her misuse of the access afforded by her position on the BOE to gain an advantage. I question whether she can be a constructive and productive member of the BOE in light of this. Ultimately, that decision rests with Ms. Lawson-Muhammad. Whether she chooses to apologize to the BOE so we can move on or tenders her resignation, I am willing to accept either course of action and move forward with the BOE’s work.


Madhu Pai
Board of Education Member

The thoughts expressed in this statement are those of an individual, and do not reflect the thoughts of the full Board of Education.

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