LETTER: Newton BOE member Henderson-Baker should be reprimanded

Recently at a Board of Commissioners meeting something happened that should not have happened. District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson was speaking and Board of Education member Shakila Henderson-Baker called him a liar. Commissioner Henderson stated that he did not have a chance to provide his input on the proposed District 4 redistricting map. Mrs. Henderson-Baker interrupted him in mid-sentence and said, "I cannot allow you to continue to lie like that!" It was irresponsible and irrational.

In a public place, this is the most disparaging and hostile manner to treat someone. The person chairing the meeting should have intervened because "you are lying" are really called fighting words, and if the commissioner had responded in a like fashion, he could have said something equally unprofessional to her, as she was obviously out of order and very unprofessional on all levels. If the chairperson had been doing their job, Mrs. Henderson-Baker should have been escorted out of the meeting immediately for her blatant disorderly conduct. The BOE should take some form of reprimand of her because she was representing the Newton County BOE as an elected official. Once again, she has shown herself to be childishly impulsive and totally unfit.

Calling someone a liar during a public meeting should never be done. I have received numerous phone calls from community members and leaders who were upset with the blatant disrespect directed toward the commissioner. If the public wanted to come out and see elected officials gathered around making disparaging remarks such as these perpetrated on Commissioner Henderson, they would have gone to the circus.

Elected officials must lead by example, and this was not an example of what the community wants to see or hear in the future. I am asking that elected officials conduct themselves in a proper manner. If Henderson-Baker did not agree with the commissioner, she could have waited until he finished, then she could have said that he was wrong or that she did not agree. Whatever faction she is trying to appeal to cannot be pleased by such an unintelligent approach.

-- Archie Shepherd