NEPTUNE, N.J. — A New Jersey school district says it has responded in a “swift and serious” way to the case of a vice principal who threw beer on people who were videotaping his wife’s extended rant against a transgender woman’s use of a public bathroom.
In a message on its website, the Neptune school district says that for legal reasons, it cannot make public the action it took regarding Michael Smurro, vice principal of Neptune Middle School.
He was shown on video tossing a cup of beer when he and his wife realized other patrons were filming them at an outdoor restaurant April 24 in Galloway Township.
In an email to The Associated Press days after the incident, Smurro apologized and said he should have just walked away from the situation. He did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday.
A protest was scheduled for Friday afternoon in a parking lot near the Neptune Board of Education’s offices.
“Our response to the well-publicized incident involving a Neptune Board of Education staff member has been swift and serious but cannot be made public,” Superintendent Tami Crader wrote in a statement posted Thursday on the district web site. “We understand and share the public’s concern and frustration but cannot share more than an assurance that this situation is being addressed, not swept under the rug, and with our students’ social-emotional well-being at the forefront of any of our actions.”
Video recorded by a patron at a table nearby shows the Smurros at an outdoor dining area. The footage shows Lisa Smurro complaining at length about a person she said is a transgender woman using the women’s bathroom.
Footage shows that the couple became aware that someone was videotaping them. They get up and walk near the table where the person filming was, and Lisa Smurro continues to complain about the transgender woman’s using the restroom. A woman at the table replies, “Please take your hate elsewhere.”
Michael Smurro then walks up and tosses the contents of a cup of beer at occupants of the table.
“Here you go, pal,” he says on the video. “There you go.”
Michael Smurro then takes several steps back and, gesturing toward himself, says, “Now you can come out. I’m right here,” before the couple walks away.
Police were not called, and as of last week, no charges had been filed regarding the incident. Police did not immediately respond to an inquiry Friday.
New Jersey law prohibits discrimination based on gender identify. It permits people to use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC