- Posted October 13, 2011 by
Union Township, New Jersey
Teacher Makes Hateful Remarks on Facebook in Response to Students' GLBT History Month Display
Recently this month, a Union High School (Union, NJ) teacher has made hateful, shameful anti-GLBT remarks on her Facebook, in response to students erecting a GLBT History Month display at the high school. To quote the teacher, Ms. Knox, "homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," a "sin that "breeds like cancer", ending with the question "Why parade your unnatural, immoral behaviors before the rest of us?"
Ms. Knox's comments are sparking a national outcry as GLBT students and supporters commemorate GLBT History Month, with October also being the month chosen to commemorate the memory of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers freshman whose privacy was violated last year and chose to end his life due to the cyber-bullying he faced by his peers. Clementi's death catalyzed a global movement against bullying and hatred, and led to the birth of the "It Gets Better" movement, providing GLBT students with the hope that their lives will improve past the harassment they face as youths.
As reported by the Star-Ledger in New Jersey (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/10/union_township_school_official.html), lawyer John Paragano was presented with a copy of the disparaging comments by a concerned parent. Paragano then took the matter to Superintendant Patrick Martin's desk, whom has since launched an investigation into the remarks made. Residents of Union Township, as well as New Jersey, anxiously await the result of this investigation, especially now that the HRC has discovered Ms. Knox has made a prior anti-GLBT comment via Twitter, condemning the repeal of DADT.
National cries for Ms. Knox's resignation have increased as Thursday progressed, with petitions and posts being spread amongst individuals (myself included), as well as by national organizations such as the HRC and state-run initiatives such as Garden State Equality. There remains, however, a minority that contests Ms. Knox has a right to speak freely, as protected under the first amendment.
It is this iReporter's belief that a teacher has a right to freedom of speech as any other person would; however, since he/she is charged as a state employee with the responsibility to teach, support, and safeguard a student *without* bias and prejudice, any comments made that would effectively incite violence toward any student cannot and should not be tolerated.
(Image courtesy Garden State Equality; NJ.com coverage copyright Star Ledger)