A special education teacher in the state of New Jersey who decided to retire rather than face tenure charges may still be subjected to disciplinary action, officials say.
Jenye “Viki” Knox, 50, who teaches at Union Township High School in New Jersey, first came under fire in June of last year when she posted comments on facebook decrying the promotion of the homosexual lifestyle at her school. The school had erected a display in acknowledgment of “Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Month,” which featured popular homosexual celebrities.
“It’s still there,” she vented on her personal facebook page. “I’m pitching a fit.”
The status then began to spark discussion, which turned into a controversy when others were offended by her comments.
Knox, a born-again Christian and adviser for the high school’s Bible study group, defended the Bible’s position on homosexuality when others challenged her status.
“God cannot abide, tolerate, accept, go along with SIN. That’s why Jesus came and gave his life as an offering for our souls; so we could once again be right-standing,” she responded. “Everything God has created, Satan has perverted, EVERYTHING! Sin is sin. Wrong is wrong.”
Knox had also allegedly made comments on a post from a fellow teacher, who stated that they planned to start a “gay-straight alliance” at the school.
“Well, if I knew UHS was going to Hell in a handbasket before I know it for sure now!,” she wrote.
A disturbed parent of a student then contacted an attorney, who wrote to school district administrators and urged that Knox be terminated for her “hateful” comments.
Although Knox explained that her posts and comments were private and not meant for public viewing, administrators decided to place her under an official investigation. The investigation then turned into the lodging of tenure charges, specifically “unbecoming conduct.” She was suspended without pay.
Knox, who has been teaching for 20 years, was to face the charges this Tuesday. However, instead of going through the process, Knox decided to retire under disability pension and requested that the case be postponed while she applied for the privileges. She believed that if she retired from teaching, then the hearing would be unnecessary.
However, administrators say that she still must face the charges before her disability pension can be granted. The state treasury department outlined that the process can sometimes take years to complete.
“Although I continue to maintain that I have done nothing that warrants me being disciplined … the thought of going through a tenure trial causes a great deal of angst,” she said.
Protests have taken place in Union in regard to Knox’s statements both for and against the teacher.