Thursday, June 20, 2019

Homophobic BOE Trustee Refuses to Resign, Faces Ethics Complaint

BOE Trustee Frances Cogelja has (rightfully) come under fire for her misguided and homophobic emailed remarks to Acting Superintendent of Schools Rosemary Marks regarding a state law requiring public schools (middle and high schools) to provide instruction on the "political, economic, and social contributions" of persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ community in society.

Source: Putting Kids First for Hackensack BOE Facebook
This law took effect January 31, 2019.  In an email dated February 5, 2019, Cogelja contends that she finds the law "disturbing and frankly shocking."  She goes on to state "Everywhere I turn, this alternate lifestyle narrative is being shoved done [sic] our children's throats.  Where does it end???"  Her comments are as misguided as they are homophobic.

The state law requires that the "political, economic, and social contributions" of persons with disabilites and the LGBT community be recognized and taught.  We are talking about history lessons.  We are talking about having discussions to recognize the sacrifices and achievements of those such as Marsha Johnson, Harvey Milk, and Edith Windsor in advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community.  This is akin to teaching students who Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet Tubman were.  Should we not teach students about slavery, the Civil War, or the civil rights movement?

Cogelja has "fear for where we are headed as a nation."  Does Cogelja fear that by recognizing the LGBTQ movement and the community's fight for equality teachers will somehow put the crazy notion in students' minds that no one is any no less of a person, or member of this society, because of who they love?  Much like the lessons that no one is any less of a person because of the color of their skin or the god that they worship?  Heaven forbid!  It sounds like an awful place (collective eye roll).

With more than 4% of New Jersey's adult population identifying as LGBT, and 36% of those individuals raising children, Cogelja has shown bias towards, marginalized, and excluded a measurable portion of our community and school population.  While this is appalling, I wish it was the only time she has put her foot in her mouth and shown her narrow mindedness and marginalized members of our community.

Let us not forget that when Frances Cogelja (a two-time loser of Board of Education) interviewed for an unexpired term, she expressed her displeasure with our district administration sending notices home to parents in both Spanish and English.

Cogelja has no place on the Board of Education.  She can no longer effectively and objectively serve when she has shown a track record of bias and marginalization of members of our community.  The community has come out in force showing that they agree. And today, Jason Nunnermacker (a former Trustee of the Board of Education) has filed a complaint with the School Ethics Commission seeking her removal.  If found to have cause, the School Ethics Commission can remove Cogelja from her seat as a Trustee.  Nunnermacker contends that Cogelja's remarks are in violation of state laws which:
1) "requires all Board of Education Members to "uphold and enforce all laws...pertaining to schools."
2) "make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools that meet the individual needs of all children regardless of or social standing."
3) "recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board."  
In a statement to HACKENSACK SCOOP, Nunnermacker states that "Trustee Cogelja's prejudicial and vile comments have no place in the School District community, the Hackensack community, and in society as a whole.  She has miserably failed the students, staff, and her constituents in which she took an oath to protect and serve.  Equally disturbing is that the current leadership of the City and the Board of Education have failed to strongly and unequivocally condemn her bigoted comments and views.  The students, staff and our City deserve far better."

Now, with a history of injecting themselves into the Board of Education, politicizing our schools, and never missing an opportunity to use their taxpayer funded campaign manager to score points with constituents, you may be asking yourself why Mayor John Labrosse, Deputy 1 Kathy Canestrino, and the rest of their puppets are remaining silent on this issue.  Why, oh why, is the Mayor not standing up for the LGBT members of his community?!?  I think it may have something to do with the fact that his campaign war chest funded Cogelja's campaign and, well.... he personally selected and recruited Cogelja to his hand picked ticket.  While we should (and are) all lobbying to have Cogelja removed, we should equally be asking if this is the type of hateful rhetoric our Mayor endorses? His new found silence is deafening!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Hackensack Rotary's 2019 Scholarship Applications are Available

The Hackensack Rotary Club provides scholarships of up to $1,500 to high school seniors who are residents of Hackensack and are planning post-secondary education. Scholarship grants are awarded based on the student’s academic record, financial need, educational goals, and service to the school and community.
Hackensack High School students may obtain applications from their guidance counselors. All Hackensack resident students may obtain and complete applications on Hackensack Rotary’s Web site

Students may also obtain applications by writing to:

Hackensack Rotary
P.O. Box 471
 Hackensack, NJ 07602
Calling Tony Marseglia at 201-343-8218.

The application deadline is April 1, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Hackensack Rotary 2019 Grant Applications are Open

The Hackensack Rotary, annually, awards grants to nonprofit organizations serving the Hackensack community.  The purpose of the Community Grants Program is to provide modest grants to nonprofit organizations that are implementing (or operating) a specific project for which they lack sufficient funds.  These nonprofits could serve the arts, education, religion, human services, health and wellness, or sports.  Because the Hackensack Rotary is dedicated to community service and seeks to serve the needs of their local community, the grant must benefit a project that will have an impact serving the Hackensack community.

Organizations can apply for grants of up to $1,500 and the funds can be used to pay for equipment, materials, supplies or contracted services. The grants can not be used to fund salaries, rent, or other  regular operating expenses of the organization. 

Grant applications must be submitted by April 15, 2019 and can be accessed by clicking here.