Zoomed on the Toilet — Anti-LGBTQ NJ School Board Member Resigns after Embarrassing Incident

Friday November 27, 2020

Frances Cogelja
Frances Cogelja  (Source:Twitter)

Frances Cogelja, a member of the Hackensack, NJ School Board, made headlines last year when she opposed "a new law that requires public schools teach LGBT history," wrote NewJersey.com. In emails written in February, 2019 she said she was disgusted and appalled," adding "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???

"I fear where we are headed as a nation."

Hackensack is one of several New Jersey municipalities with schools that have adopted policies to protect and advocate for LGBT students, reports NewJersey.com.

"In January 2017, the 5,600-student district adopted a policy protecting transgender students that included rules for bathroom use for transgender students, pronouns to use when referring to transgender students, and definitions of terms such as 'gender nonconforming' and 'gender expression.' "

At the time her emails went public, there were calls for her resignation, as well as hundred of parents who turned out a meetings seeking her removal. A Change.org petition "calling for her to step down gathered more than 1,900 electronic signatures," wrote the Hackensack Daily Voice in a report earlier this week.

But this week Cogelja did resign after an embarrassing incident during a board meeting when she "didn't realize she'd left her laptop camera on when she took it with her while going to the bathroom during the public comments section of a board meeting Monday night," reports the HDV.

"Nearly 150 participants, including students, apparently saw Cogelja relieve herself."

No one said anything when she returned to the meeting, but later Vice President Scott James-Vickery reportedly told Cogelja: "You need to go. We're here trying to get work done while you're sitting on the toilet."

The Board of Education president Lancelot Powell later said that Cogelja couldn't be removed because she was an elected official.

But on Tuesday afternoon, the board announced that the trustees "have received a letter of resignation from Mrs. Frances Cogelja, effective November 24, 2020," writes the HDV.

In June she was the only board member to refuse to go along with a resolution, "a late addition to Monday's agenda, commits school officials to anti-racism and cultural proficiency in the 5,700-student district," 798530/|wrote NewJersey.com in a separate report.

She abstained in the vote, later writing in an email: "I have a conflict due to an ongoing investigation in the district of which I am inadvertently a part of," she said. "The entity that is being investigated was referenced in the document and therefore I am conflicted."

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