DISMISS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER FOR ANTI-GAY FACEBOOK POSTS
  • Petitioned Patrick Martin, Superintendent

This petition was delivered to:

Union Twp. Public School District
Patrick Martin, Superintendent
Union Board of Education
Francis "Ray" Perkins, President
New Jersey Education Association
Barbara Keshishian, President

DISMISS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER FOR ANTI-GAY FACEBOOK POSTS

    1. Pt Fernicola
    2. Petition by

      Pt Fernicola

      Matawan, NJ

  1.  
  2.   
October 2012

Victory

A Union High School alumnus launched a petition at Change.org to Union Twp. Public School District asking to dismiss high school teacher for anti-gay Facebook posts. This petition gained 755 supporters. After a year the teacher Viki Knox has decided to resign from teaching in the state of New Jersey, according to an article released by the Star-Ledger.

"The Township of Union Public School system is geared to address the multipurpose needs of a diverse population"- so states the township on it's very own public website. (http://www.twpunionschools.org/Default.htm)

In addition, part of the NJEA's mission statement claims the association works diligently to "...promote a quality system of public education for all students." (http://www.njea.org/about/who-we-are/mission)

That "quality system of public education for all students" was compromised recently when a Union High School teacher, Ms. Knox, posted hateful, incendiary comments regarding the rights of GLBT students.

Earlier this month, students at Union High School erected a display in commemoration of GLBT History Month. Ms. Knox, who teaches at UHS and also advises the school's prayer group, posted to her Facebook account that homosexuality is "a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," and a "sin" that "breeds like cancer", in addition to "Why parade your unnatural, immoral behaviors before the rest of us?". (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/10/union_township_school_official.html)

How ever the Union Public School District aims to meet the "multipurpose needs of a diverse population", this is NOT it. When a teacher or administrator incites violence and bullying against students, it is not acceptable by any means.

I am a Union High School alumnus who experienced both great times with friends, and harassment over my perceived sexual orientation, during my four years there. I was not the only individual, and while I cannot comment on specifics in protection of a few of my friends who experienced far worse, I am aware that the Union Public School District, as well as the high school's administrators and even some teachers, largely practice a "sweep it under the carpet" mentality when it comes to any report of GLBT harassment, especially claims that could lead to a more legally involved resolution. It was due to such harassment, and the district's lack of protection of GLBT students, that I did not feel comfortable, nor safe, coming out in high school. When I did come out, I vowed to never let myself nor any other person, regardless of age, feel scared that they couldn't be the person whom they were born to be, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered.

As part of this promise to myself and the promise I've made to my community, I am starting this petition demanding Patrick Martin, Superintendent of Schools, the Union Township School District, and the Union Board of Education to dismiss Ms. Knox from her public position as a state paid teacher in NJ for inciting hatred towards a group of students. In addition, I petition the New Jersey Education Association (the NJEA) to do what is right and stand up for the rights of every GLBT student in the state who suffers harassment, hatred, and bullying when a teacher espouses such hatred and incites bullying with the words they use.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, and everyone is protected by their Right to Free Speech; however, when one holds a public sector job, he/she places him or herself in a position where they can and will be held accountable for their deeds and for what they say, most especially when said individual is charged with teaching our youth, and supporting them REGARDLESS of their race, ethnicity, gender, orientation and religious background. Ms. Knox has a right to believe in what she believes in, but she DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to incite hatred, bullying, or violence towards students.

Quite simply, since Ms. Knox has demonstrated that she cannot obviously teach or advise students in an unbiased, non-prejudiced, supportive matter and without indoctrinating her own religious beliefs to endorse her behavior, she SHOULD NOT be allowed to maintain her public sector position which charges her to safeguard students, not incite or endorse violence of any form towards them for any reason.

I urge you to help me stand up for what is right, for students nationwide, so that NOT ONE MORE student, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, feels scared to be the wonderful person they were born to be...no matter WHO they were born to be.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. VICTORY (in some fashion)

      Pt Fernicola
      Petition Organizer

      After nearly a year of intense public scrutiny and outcry over the remarks made to students and staff condemning LGBT Americans, disgraced teacher Viki Knox has decided to resign from teaching in the state of New Jersey, according to an article released by the Star-Ledger this morning (http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2012/10/union_high_school_teacher_who.html).

      While it is distressing that the Union School District opted to force her into resignation, rather than make a statement that hatred and discrimination won't be tolerated by firing her, the public can sleep tonight knowing that Viki Knox will no longer be fostering and fueling intolerance in our public schools.

      Last fall, Viki Knox made discriminatory and hate-fueled comments about LGBT Americans on her Facebook page - which was viewable by many of her current students. In addition, it was discovered that Knox made similar hateful comments in class, and many students came forward to express their concerns over incidents whe

      N.J. high school teacher who made anti-gay comments on web resigns

      UNION TOWNSHIP - A Union High School teacher who caused an uproar last year when she allegedly posted anti-gay comments on her personal Facebook page has resigned and settlement talks are under way in the tenure charge case brought by the Board of Education, according to the board's attorney.

    2. Reached 750 signatures
    3. Breaking News Update!

      Pt Fernicola
      Petition Organizer

      Greetings supporters;

      Garden State Equality, and as reported by NJ.com, posted that the first formal step towards firing Viki Knox has been undertaken by the Union School District (USD) for her veracious anti-GLBT remarks made on Facebook & in the classroom.

      This is monumental, but our fight is far from over. We need as much support now more than ever. As an alumni of the same school Knox teaches at, I have personally witnessed USD sweep matters under the rug and cover up instances of discrimination without hesitation. Unless we keep the pressure on to protect students from hatred, bias, & bigotry, USD will do what it can to keep her on the books and dismiss OUR concerns instead.

      I thank you for your support in 2011, and ask of you to *please* share this petition often in 2012. We have to keep fighting; we cannot stop until USD not only dismisses Ms. Knox, but ends their practice of covering up instances of discrimination & bullying overall.

      Thanks & stand united!
      Pt

    4. Reached 250 signatures
    5. RALLY this Tuesday (10/18)

      Pt Fernicola
      Petition Organizer

      Garden State Equality will protest this Tuesday, October 18 at 6:30 pm at the next meeting of the Union Township School Board. It's your chance to tell the school board to take action against the Union High School teacher over her alleged Facebook remarks that ruthlessly bash LGBT people. THIS TUESDAY at 6:30 pm, Union High School, 2350 North 3rd Street, Union Township, New Jersey. The school board meeting starts at 7:00 pm, but please arrive no later than 6:30 pm for our news conference and then to get seats.

      Please continue to help share my petition; I will hopefully be allowed to speak at the meeting and make our united voice loud and clear.

    6. Reached 100 signatures

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