by CHRISTINE ABRAHAM Photographer
A New Jersey teacher accused writing anti-homosexual comments on her Facebook resigned from her position at Union High School. Viki Knox, 51, a special education teacher at Union High School, was suspended from her $72,270 position for writing on her Facebook page that homosexuality is a “perverted spirit” and an “unnatural immoral behavior.” She also said that it was a “sin” that “breeds like cancer.” “God cannot abide, tolerate, accept, go along with SIN. That’s why Jesus came and gave his life as an offering for our souls; so we could once again be right-standing,” Knox’s page said. “Everything God has created, Satan has perverted, EVERYTHING! Sin is sin. Wrong is wrong.” She apparently also emailed school officials to accuse gay or lesbian teachers of “targeting” students and wrote comments on her Facebook account about a teacher who suggested the high school start a Gay-Straight Alliance, the Union County district stated. Knox denied sending any emails of such kind, that her comments posted on Facebook were protected by the First Amendment, and that she did not intend it to be hateful. “I think that teacher should be able to write whatever she chooses, even if she’s a teacher. If she doesn’t agree with something, she should be able to speak out on it. However, she should’ve [known] well enough that she was eventually going to be [dismissed] for these remarks that were posted on Facebook”, said sophmore Kirsten Pasewaldt. A similar controversy surrounded another high school teacher who also posted anti-gay commments. A “teacher of the year” by the name of Jerry Buell at Mount Dora High Schoool in Lake County, Florida was reassigned due to the comments he posted on his Facebook page involving same-sex marriage. Buell also said that the comments were not made “out of hatred” and that it was about the way he interpreted things. On his Facebook post, he said that same-sex marriages were part of a “cesspool” and were a “sin.” A first grade teacher in Paterson, NJ was also suspended from her job after posting on Facebook that she felt like a warden overseeing future criminals, referring to her six- and seven-year-old students. The teacher, whose name was not disclosed, was suspended from her position at School 21 after many parents complained and asked that their child be removed from the class. “The teacher was suspended becaused the incident created serious problems at the school that impeded the functioning of the building,” said Board of Education President Theodore Best. “You can’t simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page, but if that spills over and affects the classroom, then you can take action.” From these cases, questions about free speech and whether or not teachers should be allowed to write whatever they want online have arisen. It has also prompted the question as to whether a teacher intolerant of homosexuality and alternate lifestyles would face anti-bullying laws. “Personally, I believe that we’re all people with different opinions, no matter what occupation we have. I disagree with the fact that you have to watch what you say because of your position,” said sophmore Deanna Fisher.