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Hackensack Board of Education member Frances Cogelja. (Photo: Hackensack Board of Education.)

Embattled Hackensack school board member resigns

Frances Cogelja under fire for homophobic statements, opposition to anti-racism resolution

By David Wildstein, November 24 2020 12:55 pm

Frances Cogelja resigned from the Hackensack Board of Education on Tuesday, one day after she forgot to turn off her camera while taking a bathroom break during a school board meeting.

Cogelja had faced criticism in recent months for opposing LGBTQ and anti-racism curriculum, and for sending out homophobic emails.

“Everywhere I turn, this alternate lifestyle narrative is being shoved done [sic] our children’s throats. Where does it end???” Cogelja said in one email cited by Hackensack Future, a group which had been seeking her resignation.

In June, Cogelja abstained on a resolution that committed local schools to anti-racism and cultural proficiencies.

That move came shortly after the killing of George Floyd.

“Long overdue relief for LGBTQ youth and youth of color in Hackensack,” said Christian Oliveira, a New Jersey civil rights leader.

Cogelja was elected in 2019.

School board members must fill her seat by January 29.

A special election will be held in April to complete the remaining year of her term.

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