A New Jersey teacher may lose her job for an anti-gay Facebook rant gone viral. Viki Knox posted her displeasure with an LGBT history month announcement on the Union High School Facebook page. Knox is listed on Facebook as a teacher at the school.
After Knox posted her feelings about the month, a back-and-forth on her Facebook wall led the teacher to describe her objections in religious terms. According to news reports, a parent copied the exchange and forwarded them to an attorney, who sent them to school administrators urging her firing.
The school district is investigating, and a New Jersey Star Ledger op-ed is calling for her firing. The Star-Ledger’s coverage of the issue has generated more than 1,000 comments.
The ACLU commented that they feel the comments on Knox’s Facebook page are protected by the First Amendment. Knox hasn’t been fired yet, but with this much visibility and so much attention on the bullying LGBTQ students deal with in schools, it would not be surprising if she is let go. While her comments might be legally protected, the outcry over her comments shows they are clearly socially unacceptable.
At the same time, this instance is a great opportunity for more conversation around tolerance in schools, from students and the adults that teach them. As an ACLU rep noted, “The ACLU believes that the response to offensive speech is not the restriction of speech, but more speech.”