UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. — School officials in Union Township, N.J. are investigating claims that a high school teacher who advises a student prayer group posted remarks on her Facebook page critical of LGBT History Month, and described homosexuality as “perverted” and a “sin” that “breeds like cancer.”
Viki Knox, a teacher at Union High School, allegedly posted a photo on her personal Facebook page last week of an LGBT History Month display at the school. The image included photos of Virginia Woolf, Harvey Milk and Neil Patrick Harris, with the caption “I’m pitching a fit!”
In subsequent posts, Knox, who teaches special education classes and is adviser to a student prayer group, defended her views in lengthy exchanges with other Facebook users, referring at times to God and her Christian beliefs, and allegedly referred to homosexuality as, “a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation,” and a “sin” that “breeds like cancer,” reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Following is another excerpt from Knox’s rant – posted publicly on Facebook, where it was visible to many others in the school community, not just her friends:
Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us? AND YOU ARE WRONG! 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.
John Paragano, a local attorney and former township councilma, who said he had initially been contacted by a parent, wrote to the school district and is calling for the teacher’s dismissal.
“Hateful public comments from a teacher cannot be tolerated,” wrote Paragano, also a former Union Township Municipal Court judge. “She has a right to say it. But she does not have a right to keep her job after saying it.”
Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is investigating the incident.
Knox, 49, of Union Township, is also the faculty adviser to the high school’s student prayer group, The Seekers Fellowship, the local chapter of a nationwide organization.
Knox did not respond to requests for comment. But two other people who wrote comments on the thread said Paragano’s copy was authentic.
Township resident Judy Amorosa challenged Knox directly on Facebook, writing “What kind of a Christian are you? God made each and every one of us — gay, straight, black, white, Christian, Jew, blond, brunette — and we should all love each other.”
“Educators have a responsibility to nurture their students as they develop into young adults — and that includes making sure they feel supported and know that there is nothing wrong with being LGBT,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, in a statement. “Her alleged public rant is irresponsible and sends a dangerous message to her students.”
LGBT advocacy group, Garden State Equality, 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.
“Teachers are supposed to be role models for our children, not hatemongers,” said Steven Goldstein, Chairman of Garden State Equality. “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.”
“If these Facebook posts are from Ms. Knox, she should not be teaching our children in public schools,” Goldstein said.
As of Thursday, Knox’ Facebook page have been taken down.