NJ Teacher’s Husband Defends Wife As Rally Is Held Condemning Alleged Anti-Gay Comments
UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gay rights supporters called for the dismissal Tuesday night of a Union High School teacher who allegedly posted comments on her Facebook page disparaging homosexuality.
Teacher Viki Knox and her husband, Gene, sat down for a CBS 2 exclusive interview over the firestorm that started it all.
“Homosexuality is a perverted spirit……..I know sin and it breeds like cancer!” Knox posted on Facebook. “Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us? YOU ARE WRONG.”
“Everybody’s entitled to an opinion,” Gene Knox told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis, citing his wife’s freedom of speech. “They can persecute her, but they can’t prosecute her.”
The school district, though, advised Viki Knox not to comment during the interview.
The school district is investigating Knox because along with the comment, she reportedly posted a picture of a display at the school celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender history month.
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.”
Meanwhile, a rally was held Tuesday night declaring that “students have rights,” as those at the event held signs reading “No Hate In Our State.”
“Bigotry and prejudice can’t be taught to the kids. We’re looking at children committing suicide over this,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer.
1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reports from Tuesday night’s rally
“It’s disgusting that she’s saying all this and posting it online. She should just keep it to herself,” said student Stephanie Rivero.
Activists from Garden State Equality, a gay rights organization, were at Tuesday night’s Union Township School Board meeting to call for Knox’s dismissal.
Steven Goldstein, the Chair of Garden State Equality, said Knox has no business being in front of a classroom.
“You can’t separate what goes on the internet from what goes on in the classroom,” said Goldstein. “The same students you teach in the classroom are going to see her as a teacher spewing such hate. The second you post on Facebook for all the world to see, it makes you a public person.”
Goldstein said the key issue is that Knox identified herself as a Union High School teacher before posting the anti-gay rant.
“Shouldn’t a school teacher be held to a higher standard?” Goldstein asked.
After the controversy, Gene Knox said that while his stance would be the same, his wife might not have posted the comments on Facebook if she had to do it again.
Dozens of counter-protesters showed up Tuesday night and said Knox has a right to freedom of speech and some agreed with the viewpoint she allegedly expressed.
“It’s just a sin, just like a lie, just like anything you do. It’s a sin,” one woman said.
“She spoke what she honestly felt in her heart, what the Bible teaches,” said Paul Simon of the Calvary Chapel of Monmouth County.
Last week, the superintendent said Knox is under investigation and appropriate action has and will be taken but would not say if Knox was suspended.
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has come to Knox’s defense, releasing a statement defending her First Amendment right to express herself.
There has been no decision yet from the school board at its meeting. Knox, meanwhile, is out of classroom on paid administrative leave.
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