- The incident happened during a board meeting
- The video was broadcasted to nearly 150 people
A New Jersey School board member, who has been in the eye of a controversy over her stance on the LGBT curriculum resigned Tuesday, after accidentally broadcasting her bathroom break.
Frances Cogelja resigned as a trustee of the Hackensack Board of Education after a Zoom mishap Monday night. During the public comment phase of a board meeting, Cogelja took her laptop along while she went to the toilet without realizing that the camera was on.
The embarrassing video of her relieving herself was broadcasted live to nearly 150 participants, including students. None of the participants commented anything about it, until after she returned from the toilet trip.
A while later, Vice President Scott James-Vickery reportedly asked her to leave. “We’re here trying to get work done while you’re sitting on the toilet,” he said.
Lancelot Powell, President, Board of Education, said that Cogelja cannot be removed as she was an elected official, reported DailyVoice.
The board announced Cogelja’s resignation by Tuesday afternoon on the school district’s website. “We had a long history of issues with Cogelja and we here at Hackensack want to do what’s best for the community and our kids. After last night, all I can say is we wish her the best,” Powell added.
Cogelja faced widespread condemnation last June for sending controversial comments in her email to the district’s acting Superintendent regarding the inclusion of LGBT history in the curriculum, reported local news outlet Northjersey.com. She said she was “disgusted and appalled” by efforts to teach students about LGBT history. The emails, which dated back to February, was released in June by a group of candidates, who lost April’s school election.
“I find it repugnant that someone’s sexual preferences have anything to do with their contributions or achievements in society. Everywhere I turn, this alternate lifestyle narrative is being shoved (down) our children’s throats. Where does it end?” Cogelja wrote in her email.
The controversial comments resulted in widespread protest and many board members and locals had requested her to step down. Cogejla was elected to the board in 2018.
The LGBT history law passed in January mandates that from the academic year 2020-21, schools teach middle school and high school students about the political, economic and social contributions of the LGBT community and disabled people. The order does not, however, apply to private schools.