In Cedar Grove, a survey asking public school students in grades 3-12 to reveal their gender identity without giving parents a chance to review it first has triggered a bid to recall four-term school board member Chrissy Dye – and now allegations of harassment and voter intimidation are headed to the Essex County Prosecutor.
The recall group collected 3,032 signatures, 230 more than the number required to force a recall vote in November. It’s now up to the county clerk to certify the petition.
Now some residents are complaining that Dye and her husband, Bill, are intimidating some residents that signed the recall petition.
Courtney Coffin provided a copy of a text message from Bill Dye that included a photo of her signature on the recall petition.
“Hope it’s worth it to you (in) the end,” he wrote. “Personal attacks on family are fuckin BS.”
Coffin said signing the petition was her fight as a registered voter.
“I am aware I am one of many that received this harassment,” she said. “It is a disgrace, and reflective of the person we are trying to recall.”
A police investigation report obtained by the New Jersey Globe shows that Coffin notified police about the text.
So did another resident, Peter Moreno.
According to Cedar Grove Police Officer Joseph Ligas’ report, Moreno came to the police station on Wednesday “to report a harassing text message from William Dye.
Like Coffin, Dye texted a photo of Moreno’s signature on the recall petition, along with a text that said, “We even now? Dick.”
Kim Cardinale Kerney said that her husband received a similar text from Bill Dye.
“Not wanting someone to finish their term is not a personal attack on a family,” Kerney stated. “This reaction only validates why it’s time to go. Sad many people were afraid to sign, and I see why, but I stand by what I did.”
The New Jersey Globe has confirmed that others have receiving similar emails.
The text messages, which appear retaliatory in nature, has now become an issue in the recall campaign.
“You can’t even vote ion this town without getting threatened,” Coffin said. “People are scared of this couple. I know this couple and I know they are ruthless.”
It’s not clear if a probe has begun.
“I cannot confirm an investigation,” said Tom Fennelly, an assistant Essex County Prosecutor.
The survey was later invalidated after Administrative Law Judge Gail Cooksey found the Cedar Grove Board of Education to be in violation of state law when it surveyed students about their gender, race and religious affiliation without first going through parents. The State Department of Education upheld the ruling; coincidentally, Cedar Grove is the hometown of the acting Commissioner of Education, Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan.
Dye did not immediately return a 4:59 PM email on Thursday, July 7.