An incident involving a dead rat found last spring on a Beaufort County Board of Education member's home doorstep was resurrected at Tuesday night’s board meeting when another board member demanded the rat’s recipient, Christina Gwozdz, explain who she thought was behind the incident.
Former chairwoman and current board member Mary Cordray called on Gwozdz to name her accuser and said she "(didn't) have the balls" when Gwozdz declined to do so.
Four months into Gwozdz's first year on the school board, she came home on a Tuesday afternoon last April to find a dead rat placed in the center of her front doormat. She called the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to report it “in case future issues arise.”
“Christina says she believes the rat was left by someone with malicious intentions ... she does not have any enemies to name, however expressed that there is often contention between board members as well as members of the public,” according to the April 25 report.
On Tuesday, Cordray said, “You have accused, at this meeting, in the press and other settings, a board member of putting a rat on your doormat."
At Tuesday’s meeting, Gwozdz delivered a speech that touched on almost every aspect plaguing the school board’s apparent dysfunction. She did not mention the rat.
Contacted about the incident by The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette in January, Gwozdz declined to say who she thought was behind the incident.
Cordray continued: “You claim you have proof. I want to know who you’re accusing. I want to see your proof. Either prove it, or take it back. Because I think it’s a lie. Either you don’t have proof, or you don’t have the balls to say who it is you’re accusing. Now which is it?”
Gwozdz reiterated that she had “no comment” about the rat incident.
“Of course not,” Cordray said. “That would be something that would be up front … I cannot believe that you think your behavior is above reproach and everybody else’s is not. You are one of the worst.”
Gwozdz encountered the rodent three days after a conflict at a board meeting in which she was asked to serve as a witness to what became a heated conversation between Cordray and a resident frequently critical of the board, who has since joined the board.
Gwozdz was one of at least three school board members who in 2017 reported feeling threatened while serving in their official elected capacity and reported it to law enforcement.
This is not the first time Cordray has used colorful language in a board setting. After a board meeting last April, she called board member John Dowling, then a private citizen, a "stupid piece of doo-doo" after he called her a "sick coward."