A high school teacher has been issued a three-year suspension after she called homosexuality a sin on Facebook. Jenye “Viki” Knox had been teaching at Union High School since 2000 as a teacher and faculty adviser for the students’ Bible study group.
The trouble started when Knox openly criticized an LGBTQIA+ promotion featured in the school’s display glass. “Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us?” she commented. “Homosexuality is a perverted spirit … I know sin and it breeds like cancer,” Knox, 56, continued. Sodomy is “unnatural immoral behavior” that is “against the Nature and Character of God,” she said.
When these comments got her into trouble with the school district, Knox declared that she was compelled to “love and speak and do what’s right!” Knox was slapped with various charges, including that she had accused homosexual teachers of “targeting young and impressionable students for indoctrination into alternative sexual lifestyles,” according to NJ.com. Midway through 2012, Knox resigned, citing “stress” from the whole ordeal.
Then, in 2013, Knox sued the district for violating her right to free speech and her right to the free expression of her religion via her Facebook page. “These Facebook posts that she made were done on her time, at her home, after school hours, on her home computer, and it was addressing a matter that could arguably be of big societal concern,” said Knox’ attorney Demetrios Stratis.
“Her personal beliefs are what they are. They are her Christian values and that has nothing to do with hate,” added her sister, Wanda Leake. Her husband Gene added: “They’re vilifying her. If they knew her they would not do that.”
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Education has rendered her teaching certificates invalid. Knox appealed and bargained for compromise to a three-year suspension, but the state sided with the Department of Education on the issue, suspending Knox’s certification as an elementary, nursery school and special ed teacher for handicapped students.
The state asserted that the three-year suspension was upheld as Knox “did not admit or concede to the truth of allegations.”
Interestingly, the American Civil Liberties Union in New Jersey legal director Edward Barocas said in a statement that Knox should be allowed to express her opinion on the social networking site. “Although we do not agree with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox’s personal Facebook page, her beliefs and comments are protected by the First Amendment,” Barocas stated, as reported by the New York Times.