A New Jersey teacher is under investigation for anti-gay remarks she allegedly posted on her Facebook that criticize a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history month display at her school.
Viki Knox, a 49-year-old special education teacher at Union High School and adviser to the school's student prayer group, reportedly posted on Facebook that homosexuality is "a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," and a "sin" that "breeds like cancer," the Star-Ledger reports.
"Union is not South Orange/Maplewood where one out of four families consist of two Mommies or daddies… Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us?" Knox wrote. "I/we do not have to accept anything, anyone, any behavior or any choices! I do not have to tolerate anything others wish to do."
The Facebook thread has since been removed from the site, but New Jersey LGBT rights group Garden State Equality has obtained a PDF copy of the Facebook exchange, as well as an image of the school display, from John paragon, a lawyer and former Union Township councilman and municipal judge, according to a statement GSE issued Thursday on its Facebook page.
Paragano came across Knox's comments on Facebook over the weekend and wrote to Union Township Schools Superintendent Patrick Martin, requesting action.
"Hateful public comments from a teacher cannot be tolerated," Paragano wrote, according to the Star-Ledger. "She has a right to say it. But she does not have a right to keep her job after saying it."
Knox was escorted from school property, but Martin declined to confirm whether the teacher was suspended, 1010 WINS reports. Knox also had no defending comments.
New Jersey's newly implemented anti-bullying law protects free speech where it does not interfere with educating students, GSE Chair Steven Goldstein notes in a statement, adding that this incident isn't a question of legality.
"But this situation also calls for the school to look at the big picture as to the appropriateness of having Ms. Knox –- if she did write these posts –- teach our youth," Goldstein said. "The posts even say, ‘…That’s what I teach and preach.’ It is one thing to hold anti-gay views –- that’s protected in America –- but it would be another thing to vow to teach them in the classroom in a public school."
Expressing personal opinions on Facebook has proved a delicate issue among teachers, students, parents and school administrators. In August, Florida high school "Teacher of the Year" Jerry Buell was suspended for an anti-gay post he wrote on his Facebook page denouncing New York's decision to allow same-sex marriage. He was reinstated shortly following school investigations.
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