ACLU: Teacher Who Made Anti-Gay Comments Has First Amendment Protection
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Union County, N.J. high school teacher is in hot water after making anti-gay postings on Facebook, but she’s receiving support from an unlikely source.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reports
Deborah Jacobs, the executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Viki Knox may have voiced a biased position, but that doesn’t justify taking away her right to due process.
“Although we do not agree with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox’s personal Facebook page, her comments are protected by the First Amendment,” Jacobs said. “The ACLU believes that the response to offensive speech is not the restriction of speech, but more speech.”
Knox is under fire for a thread on her Facebook page that compared homosexuality to a sin that breeds like cancer.
Jacobs said this is an opportunity for a teachable moment and that the issue needs to be handled carefully.
“As hurtful as they are they need to be addressed. If we don’t address them and just go into attack mode then those opinions are gonna go underground, and that’s the place they fester,” she said.
School administrators are trying to verify students’ claims that Knox taught discrimination in class. Jacobs says if that’s true, Knox should be fired.
Knox has yet to comment on the situation.
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