Well my fine young readers, the fur is flying once again. You may remember a few weeks back that I covered the story of Jerry Buell, the Florida high school teacher that was suspended for comments that he made on his Facebook page against marriage equality. Now, the focus shifts to the state of New Jersey. In Union Township, 49-year-old Special Education teacher Viki Knox has not only been suspended, but was also escorted from school grounds pending an investigation into comments she posted on her bible group’s Facebook account, regarding an LGBT History Month display at the school where she teaches.(1) (2)(The entirety of Mrs. Knox’s comments were subsequently removed from Facebook, but not before a third-party was able to capture them. The discourse can now be found here.)
As with the Jerry Buell situation, FB groups have sprang up both in support of her dismissal and in support of her reinstatement. And, as with the Jerry Buell situation, the debate circulates around the following questions:
- Does Viki Knox have the right to express her personal opinions in a public forum like Facebook?
- Should she be held to account for what she posts on Facebook?
- Most importantly: Are her personal views affecting her job performance?
In this writer’s personal opinion, I would answer those questions in the following manner; Yes, Mrs. Knox has the right to her own opinions and the right to express those opinions, as do I here on The Cybersattva blog. As for question number two, that gets a little more tricky in this case. You see, Viki Knox posted a rather lengthy, intolerant and vitriolic message regarding the school display, and her views on homosexuality. The comments that were made by Mrs. Knox even drew the attention of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who referred to them as “disturbing.”(3) Within all that commentary were the following trigger words; “That’s what I teach and preach.” So in THIS case, I would say that the Union Township school board is doing exactly what it needs to do. As for question three, I would say that Viki Knox answered it herself, in her post on Facebook.
I have a very close friend who is in a Lesbian relationship. It is a monogamous, long-term one that works for both her and her partner. She also has a son in school, who is a special needs child. For the purposes of this article, we’ll call him “Bobby.” Hypothetically, if “Bobby” had Viki Knox as his teacher at school, and if Mrs. Knox was indeed “teaching and preaching” her views on homosexuality like she says in her Facebook post, what kind of effect would this have on a child like “Bobby,” who has two same-sex parents in the home? How would this impact his views and behaviors in the home?
What I’m about to say here is going to sound quite racist to some, even though it’s not my intention to offend. I’m going to write it anyway, only because it needs to be written. The thing that I find completely ironic is that Viki Knox, while being African-American, completely rejects the concept of tolerance where the LGBT community is concerned. In an age where our nation has finally reached a level of maturity where we feel not only able, but also proud to have elected our first black president, now some (notice I said “some,” not all) who were mere decades ago decrying intolerance are now perpetuating it! Others however, including civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, widow of the martyred activist Martin Luther King Jr. are calling for tolerance and acceptance of the LGBT community.(4) The whole thing has me scratching my head, and again this whole paragraph was not meant as an affront to any particular demographic or race. If it appeared or was taken as such, I deeply apologize.
Again, I feel that in this particular case, the school has done the right thing. In contrast with Jerry Buell, who did not allow his personal views to jade his performance in the classroom setting, Viki Knox personally attests to the fact that she not only allows her intolerant views to jade her job performance, she’s proud of it. In my humble opinion, her brand of intolerance…no, NO brand of intolerance can be allowed to pervade the schoolhouse.