The New Jersey Star-Ledger, in a biting editorial on Sunday, called for the dismissal of Viki Knox, a high school teacher who last week posted a homophobic rant on her Facebook page in response to an LGBT history month display at Union High School in Union Township, N.J.
In her Facebook post, Knox, 49, described described homosexuality as “perverted” and a “sin” that “breeds like cancer.”
In its editorial, the Star-Ledger said that “no student should be the target of prejudice by any school employees, especially teachers,” and that Knox “has to go.”
While we all should be allowed an inner circle with whom we can speak freely, Knox gave up those protections when she posted her comments on the most public forum there is — the internet. She created a fearful, hostile environment for students. That’s unacceptable.
Knox has the right to a hateful view, but once her beliefs are made public, she doesn’t have the right to a taxpayer-funded, $70,688-a-year job in which she is expected to treat all students equally and with respect. She should absorb the harshest action possible, suspension or firing.
A self-described “Jesus freak,” Knox wrote that she is compelled to “love” others and do what’s right, but then spouted hate speech, using God as her public defender.
School officials say they’re weighing their options, but we don’t see how Knox ever could be an effective, trusted teacher again.
LGBT advocacy group, Garden State Equality, has also called for Knox’ dismissal, and questioned her ability as a teacher to enforce the state’s new anti-bullying law. The law was signed in January and is considered among the toughest in the country for its requirement that schools have anti-bullying policies.
“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,” said Steven Goldstein, Chairman of Garden State Equality.
Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is still investigating the incident.