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N.J. Teacher Under Fire For Alleged Anti-Gay Comments On Facebook

Adviser Viki Knox Under Investigation, Could Face Suspension, Termination
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Screengrab Of Viki Knox's FB Page (credit: Facebook)

Screengrab Of Viki Knox’s FB Page (credit: Facebook)

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UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Union Township School District is investigating claims that a public school teacher posted comments on her Facebook page disparaging homosexuality.

School officials escorted Viki Knox, 49, off school property Thursday, citing an ongoing investigation.

The superintendent would not say if Knox was suspended but said she is under investigation and appropriate action has and will be taken, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported earlier Thursday.

Schools officials released a statement Thursday night saying: “This is an ongoing investigation. The school district is taking it very seriously, and is taking all appropriate action.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports Knox had nothing to say in her own defense

Over the weekend, Knox, in response to an exhibit at the school celebrating October as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history month, apparently wrote, “Homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation….”

The comment went on to say that homosexuality is a “sin” that “breeds like cancer.”

Knox apparently also wrote, “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?  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 exhibit at the school honored famous LGBT Americans, including Harvey Milk, Chaz Bono and actor Neil Patrick Harris.

Former Union Township councilman John Paragano said he brought the alleged anti-gay comments, which have since been removed, to the attention of school officials and called for Knox’s dismissal.

“New Jersey has strongest anti-bullying laws in the United States currently and teachers are at the forefront of that. I question whether a teacher with these views would actually report bullying against a gay or lesbian student,” Paragano told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney: The Comments Have Since Been Deleted

The gay rights group Garden State Equality also said it wants Knox fired.

“It’s hard to believe that anyone would oppose an exhibit of photos of famous LGBT people in history,” Steven Goldstein, the Chair of Garden State Equality, said in a statement. “That’s tantamount to wanting to erase the very existence of LGBT people – an erasure with horrible overtones that would run counter to the diversity of our state and nation.”

“To spew such hatred and to do it publicly in front of your students, she’s not fit to teach. She needs to be removed, now,” Goldstein later told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

At school, students and parents were outraged.

“For somebody who is gay — I have a lot of gay friends — so its like offending to me, too,” sophomore Tahteria Woods told CBS 2’s Brown.

“I feel really disgusted about it,” added senior Andrew Caldas.

“If you have a personal opinion, keep it to yourself,” one parent said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey released a statement defending Knox’s First Amendment right to express herself.

Knox is a faculty adviser to a prayer group at the school. She had no comment for reporters on Thursday, but told Dennis she has retained an attorney.

Knox’s Facebook page has been permanently deleted.

What action do you think should be taken? Let us know below…

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