An ethics complaint questioning the residency of Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Mussab Ali was withdrawn last month after he did not return to Beijing, China for his master’s studies due to COVID-19 concerns – returning to Jersey City to complete his classes online.
“By information and belief, Respondent Ali has moved back to Jersey City. Respondentâ€™s masters program has moved its classes online due to the coronavirus and provided passage out of China for all program participants,” Schapiro said in a March 9th letter to the New Jersey Department of Education.
Schapiro’s ethics complaint questioned if Ali was allowed to participate in the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars program overseas while still serving on the BOE, as HCV first reported.
He also asked for a review of the legality of the board changing their policy on calling into meetings after Ali was planning to temporarily relocate for school.
Ali’s term expires in 2021 and his program would have kept him out of the country for the majority of 2020, but that all charged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A March 13th letter from NJ DOE Office of Controversies and Disputes Acting Director Jennifer Killough-Herrera formally deemed the complaint as withdrawn.
China first began reporting coronavirus cases at the end of January and has reported over 81,000 confirmed patients and over 3,000 deaths to date.
In an email, Schapiro told HCV that the focus of the entire school district should be current public health emergency, also noting that everyone is working together – continuing that he would not hesitate to file another complaint if it was called for in the future.
“Most important is for everybody to be doing their part during the public health emergency. The Petition is no longer necessary as Jersey City board trustees are working together in the district,” he said.
“If Mr. Ali chooses to go back to ‘phoning it in’ from outside of the district, the Petition will be reactivated.”
Ali, who had previously expressed that the complaint had no merit, agreed that now was the time for everyone at the BOE to work as a collective unit.
“The petition was frivolous to begin with and Iâ€™m glad this is something I can put behind me. We need all hands on deck to continue to work together for the benefit of our Jersey City students.”