Piscataway, NJ school counselor fired over LGBTQ issues, supporters say
PISCATWAY — An educator known to be an advocate for LGBTQ students has been denied tenure in Piscataway.
Cassia Mosdell has been a school psychologist/behaviorist and school anti-bullying specialist at T. Schor Middle School in Piscataway.
She faced backlash for organizing a “Day of Silence,” according to a Facebook group called North NJ Democratic Socialists of America.
During a packed meeting on Thursday night, the Piscataway school board voted to effectively fire Mosdell, who has been quarantined with COVID-19, as reported by News 12 New Jersey.
"I love my job and I love my kids. I am devastated by this loss and only want the opportunity to continue doing this important work. I am especially concerned about the future of my Happiness Committee - a club of amazing student leaders that gives voice to LGBTQ+ students and their allies. I feel I've been treated unfairly, but at the heart of it, this is about the kids- especially those who are most marginalized and in need of support," Mosdell said in a statement emailed to New Jersey 101.5.
"I feel the district is sending the wrong message to our youth - that they should not advocate on these issues or speak out. I'm simply not willing to let that stand," Mosdell continued.
An online petition had collected more than 500 signatures as of Friday, urging the Board of Education to reconsider their dismissal of Mosdell.
“Dr. Mosdell has been a trusted advisor to LGBTQ youth and allies for four years. Dr. Mosdell has consistently done outstanding work in our schools. She has dedicated more than 20 years to supporting students and young children,” according to the Change.org petition started by Tiffany Clark.
“Given the attacks on LGBTQ youth across the country, now more than ever, students need to see that they and their allies are valued by our school community,” the petition also said.
The Day of Silence is a national, student-led demonstration each April, during which LGBTQ students and allies "take a vow of silence to protest the harmful effects of harassment and discrimination of LGBTQ people in schools," according to advocacy organization, GLSEN.