Defends her credibility, right to speak out

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Shirley Dill Guest Column

Shirley Dill
Guest Column

I recognize the fact that everyone has the right to express his or her opinion. However, Barry Campbell’s letter to the editor pertaining to restoring the name Samsel to the Upper Elementary School (“Resident Irked by Decision To Change Sayreville School Name,” Suburban, Dec. 8) deserves to be challenged.

Due to its context, I would classify it as an irresponsible attack letter that was not factual. His entire letter was nothing more than a futile attempt to mislead the residents of Sayreville in regard to my credibility.

His anger is misdirected — it should be targeted toward the administration and Board of Education, not me. The burden of proof lies in the manner in which this issue was handled. It’s quite evident Mr. Campbell knows nothing about me and is even less knowledgeable about the history of our community.

As a regular attendee at public meetings, I have never had the opportunity to see or hear Mr. Campbell address any issue. Where was he when this issue was scheduled to be discussed at a regular public meeting? I attended three public meetings on this issue, voiced my concerns, did my research, and located the surviving member of the Samsel family.

It is indeed sad that Mr. Campbell has to wonder about what is in a name. A name can stand for many things in our everyday life, such as respect, honor, pride and gratitude for a family that dedicated a total of 73 years of service to our community.

Unlike Mr. Campbell, I aired my concerns at a public meeting, as I have done on many occasions. I feel it was morally wrong to take away an honor that was bestowed upon a much-revered family, and I felt strongly about the preservation of our local history.

As an active and involved senior citizen who has spent my entire life in Sayreville, I wonder if Mr. Campbell is so naive to think I am not concerned about taxes. I have been paying taxes for 55 years and have no family members attending our local system.

I’ve earned and paid for the right to participate in my community any way I choose. I will always be visible and vocal to defend right and oppose wrong and will never allow myself to be intimidated by the actions of Barry Campbell or any Board of Education member.

In the future, I would hope Mr. Campbell’s statements would be more factual. There was no formal vote taken to spend any amount of tax dollars. There were no bids, only one quote that Kevin Ciak, board president, received the day of the vote and presented to the board on the night of the vote. Mr. Ciak admitted the Samsel issue was an oversight by the board but lacked the courage to vote for the name restoration along with board members Peter Barone, Phyllis Batko, Al Cox, Danny DiPoalo and Pat Lembo.

In closing, I would like to suggest that Mr. Campbell and the board members read the history of our community written by a Sayreville resident, the Hon. Joseph T. Karcher, who felt the history of the community should be important to its residents as an inspiration for those who follow in their footsteps. I couldn’t agree more.

Shirley Dill is a resident Parlin section of Sayreville