MONMOUTH COUNTY – A petition has gathered over 8,700 signatures, calling out a Monmouth County Vice Principal who threw beer at people while his wife yelled transphobic remarks at a south Jersey restaurant.
The petition was created by Philly Metro Activism Network urging that vice principal of Neptune Township Middle School and a Freehold resident Michael Smurro be terminated from his position.
On April 24, Smurro had thrown beer at a table for recording his wife who was complaining aloud about a trans woman using the women’s bathroom at Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light and Tavern in Galloway Township.
In videos posted on Facebook, Smurro’s wife Lisa was filmed saying, “A man just went into the women’s bathroom, and it’s not right. She’s a man in my bathroom.” The video continues with Smurro’s wife complaining to a hostess, who then leaves to get the manager. The filming ends after Smurro is recorded tossing beer on restaurant patrons.
The petition, which currently has over 8,700 signatures, was addressed to the Neptune Township Board of Education and the New Jersey Department of Education.
“A violent, transphobic and hateful physical aggressor does not belong anywhere near NJ children. We demand that he be removed from his position IMMEDIATELY, without pay, until a full investigation of this situation is complete,” the petition reads.
According to the Associated Press, Smurro stated an apology for the way he behaved as well as apologizing to the person he threw beer at.
The Neptune Township School District released a statement discussing inclusivity within the district and ways they support all of their students, including LBGTQIA+ students.
For legal reasons, the school district could not comment on the personnel actions related to the video.
The district’s statement concludes with a parent sharing their personal thoughts and experiences regarding how the district is handling the situation.
“I have a transgender daughter who currently attends… and we could not be happier with the support and allyship we have gotten from the teachers and staff. With the recent bad press, I think it would be really helpful to let the community know what Neptune is already doing to support the LGBTQ students,” the parent wrote.
New Jersey law states that discrimination based on gender identity is prohibited. The law allows people to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
This incident is still under investigation as Neptune Township Board of Education and the New Jersey Department of Education have not released an updated statement.
The petition can be found here: change.org/p/neptune-township-board-of-education-fire-michael-smurro