A New Jersey school board member may have flushed her career down the toilet after accidentally leaving her camera on while she relieved herself in the bathroom during a Zoom meeting with hundreds of participants
Frances Cogelja, a trustee on the board of education in Hackensack, New Jersey, forgot to disable her camera before taking her laptop with her to the bathroom during the public comments segment of the board meeting on Monday night.
Cogelja's trip to the toilet was witnessed by as many as 150 participants, including students who were on the call. The civic group For Hackensack's Future on its Facebook page said Cogelja "broadcast her bare bottom" during the meeting.
No one immediately said anything after she returned from her bathroom break but a short time later, Vice President Scott James-Vickery addressed the incident, by asking her to leave the meeting. "You need to go. We're here trying to get work done while you're sitting on the toilet."
Cogelja Resigns from Position
On Tuesday night, Cogelja tendered her resignation in the wake of the embarrassing incident. The Hackensack Board of Education announced the resignation on its website.
"The Trustees have received a letter of resignation from Mrs. Frances Cogelja, effective November 24, 2020. The process to fill a Board vacancy is statutorily described in Title 18A. The remaining Trustees must fill the vacancy within 65 days (January 29, 2021)," the announcement read.
Cogelka came under fire over the summer for saying she was "disgusted and appalled" by a new law requiring LGBTQ history to be taught in classrooms.
"I have every right as a parent to not have my child participate in something that I do not think is suitable as part of a public school curriculum," she said at the time. "I believe conversations having to do with sexuality should be had at home between parents and their children."
Her comments drew criticism from parents at a subsequent meeting, with many demanding her resignation and a Change.org petition calling for her to step down gathered more than 1,900 electronic signatures.