Viki Knox, the Union Township, New Jersey teacher who referred to homosexuality as "a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," and a "sin" that "breeds like cancer" on a Facebook thread about her school's LGBT pride month, is at the center of a serious battle over free speech.
Knox has yet to comment on the situation, but pretty much everyone else has, as more of her background come to light. The Star-Ledger dug up state records showing that Knox has taught for at least 20 years, including 10 in the Union school district, and earns $70,688 a year. On her Facebook page, she describes herself as a special education teacher and a "Jesus freak."
The comments started appearing last Wednesday afternoon, after the school erected a display of "famous gays" like Virginia Woolf, Harvey Milk and Neil Patrick Harris. “I’m pitching a fit!” Knox wrote, before sounding off with more bon mots like "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. I DO HAVE TO LOVE AND SPEAK AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT!" She also notes that "if you KNOW me, then you know I AM CONFRONTATIONAL... I need to constantly work on with Jesus." The page has since been taken down, but , but Garden State Equality, a gay rights group, has posted a PDF of the comments here.
It's unclear right now whether Knox was at school, at home or both when she made the comments. Garden State Equality, along with Union Township lawyer John Paragano, are calling for the Board of Education to fire Knox. Even the ACLU, who is defending Knox's right to free speech, told the Times, “Because her postings raised questions about her conduct within school, the school district can and should investigate whether she is performing her job in accordance with school policies and the state’s Law Against Discrimination.” Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is investigating the incident.