Further proof that teachers and Facebook don't mix: A Union Township, New Jersey teacher is being investigated over the homophobic comments she allegedly posted on her Facebook, calling homosexuality "perverted" and criticizing Union High School LGBT month events, reports the Star-Ledger today.
Viki Knox, a Special Education teacher who is also the faculty adviser to the high school’s student prayer group, The Seekers Fellowship, reportedly 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. The page has since been taken down, but Garden State Equality, a gay rights group, has posted a PDF of the comments here.
Local attorney John Paragano is calling for Knox to be fired, saying, "Hateful public comments from a teacher cannot be tolerated. She has a right to say it. But she does not have a right to keep her job after saying it." Garden State Equality agrees with Paragano: "Teachers are supposed to be role models for our children, not hatemongers," said GSE chair Steven Goldstein. He also referenced the state's newly passed, extra-tough anti-bullying law, saying "I don’t see how this teacher could possibly be effective in implementing the state’s new anti-bullying law, designed precisely to teach children that bullying, including cyber-bullying, is unacceptable."
Knox has yet to comment, but the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey released a statement defending Knox’s First Amendment right to make the comments: "Although we do not agree with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox’s personal Facebook page, her comments are protected by the First Amendment," said representative Ed Barocas.
Earlier this year, a former "Teacher of the Year" in Florida also used his Facebook to express his disgust with gay marriage in New York, and was later suspended. Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is investigating the Knox incident.