January 23, 2021

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School board member left her Zoom on while going to the bathroom



a man and a woman standing in front of a laptop: MailOnline logo


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A trustee on the board of education in Hackensack, New Jersey, has resigned after she accidentally left her laptop camera on while relieving herself in the bathroom during a Zoom meeting attended by 150 people, including students.

The mishap took place on Monday evening, when Frances Cogelja took a bathroom break during a board meeting that was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Several of those in attendance on the Zoom call were shocked to see Cogelja sitting on the toilet while her camera was activated, according to the Daily Voice.

The Hackensack Board of Education recorded the Zoom meeting and posted a link online, though the incident in question is never seen since it took place during the public comments portion of the evening.

The main Zoom screen was largely covered by a stopwatch.



a screen shot of a person: During a Zoom meeting attended by 150 trustees, board members, and students, Cogelja forgot to turn the camera of her laptop off while going to the bathroom to relieve herself (above)


© Provided by Daily Mail
During a Zoom meeting attended by 150 trustees, board members, and students, Cogelja forgot to turn the camera of her laptop off while going to the bathroom to relieve herself (above)

Due to the large number of participants, the thumbnail showing Cogelja was relegated to another screen that was not recorded. 

One viewer who saw the live image of Cogelja on the toilet took a photograph and posted it to an online message board.

While none of the other participants immediately said anything after she returned from her bathroom break, the board’s vice president, Scott James-Vickery, tells her later on: ‘You need to go. We’re here trying to get work done while you’re sitting on the toilet.’

The meeting was a tense one, as the board rejected Cogelja’s attempt to have the board election date moved from April of next year to November, giving her another seven months.

Cogelja made national news headlines last year when she told the district’s acting superintendent that she was ‘disgusted and appalled’ by plans to teach students about the history of the LGBTQ movement.

She said new state laws requiring that the subject matter be included in the curriculum were ‘repugnant.’

‘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,’ Cogelja said at the time.



a group of people posing for a photo: The Hackensack School District posted a Zoom recording of Monday's school board meeting online. Cogelja is seen bottom row far right


© Provided by Daily Mail
The Hackensack School District posted a Zoom recording of Monday’s school board meeting online. Cogelja is seen bottom row far right

‘I believe conversations having to do with sexuality should be had at home between parents and their children.’

The comments, for which she later apologized, sparked outrage and prompted calls for her resignation.

Cogelja also angered parents this past summer after she abstained from a resolution that would have required schools to commit to anti-racism and cultural proficiency in city public schools, TAPinto.net reported.

Cogelja handed in her resignation on Tuesday, and it went into effect immediately.

The trustees have until January 29 to fill her vacancy. 

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