Woman resigns after mortifying toilet mishap during Zoom meeting

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A woman has resigned from her position on a school board after accidentally broadcasting a private act to her colleagues during a Zoom meeting.

Frances Cogelja, a trustee of the Board of Education in Hackensack in the US state of New Jersey, forgot to turn off the camera on her laptop when she took it with her to the bathroom – sharing her toilet break with nearly 150 people online, including some students.

One Facebook group said Ms Cogelja “broadcast her bare bottom” during the meeting, while a student said it was “the funniest thing I have ever witnessed in my 17 years of life”.

“Never in my life have I been so shocked,” the teen wrote online.

A screenshot of a Zoom meeting with multiple people, including Frances Cogelja (third row, far right).
A screenshot showing several attendees of the Zoom meeting, including Frances Cogelja (third row, far right) and the board's vice president (top row, second from left). Source: Hackensack School District

After Ms Cogelja rejoined the meeting, the board’s vice president Scott James-Vickery addressed the embarrassing blunder.

“As far as I’m concerned, while our teachers are being professional and you’re at home sitting on the toilet. We are moving on with this district doing what’s best,” he said.

Ms Cogelja was hit with a double whammy during the meeting, with the board also rejecting her bid to move the board election date from April 2021 to November 2021 – a proposal that would give her seven more months in her position.

Already a controversial figure, Ms Cogelja had made headlines in the past for her views on LGBTQ history being taught in schools.

A headshot of Frances Cogelja.
Ms Cogelja resigned effective immediately after the mortifying fail on the Zoom call. Source: Hackensack School District

Emails released in June last year show the woman blasting the curriculum as “disgusting”, saying she found it “repugnant that someone's sexual preferences have anything to do with their contributions or achievements in society”.

The exposure of the emails led to a public outcry, with many calling for her resignation.

That day finally came on Tuesday (local time) when Ms Cogelja resigned effective immediately.

After the announcement, Facebook group “For Hackensack’s Future” made a celebratory post.

“Many of you have stood with us as we demanded Frances Cogelja's resignation for 521 days. This is a win for all of us, but especially for the students and staff who are of color and/or members of the LGBTQIA community,” the post said.

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