Jeyne Viki Knox, a Christian and a veteran special education teacher in New Jersey is now serving a three-year suspension of her teaching certificates years after a Facebook post expressing criticism of homosexuality.
Knox, 56, formerly taught at Union High School and, after resigning in 2012, finally came to a settlement with the state's Department of Education in which her three teaching certificates revoked for a period of three years. Also an ordained minister, Knox has held certificates for elementary school, nursery school, and handicapped teaching since 1990.
Her extensive career in education was derailed in October 2011 when published a Facebook post criticizing an LGBT History Month display at the high school.
Knox then debated the issue in the comments of the post, according to NJ.com, reportedly calling homosexuality a "perverted spirit" that "breeds like cancer."
"Why parade your unnatural immoral behaviors before the rest of us?" Knox said in her Facebook post. "I DO NOT HAVE TO TOLERATE ANYTHING OTHERS WISH TO DO. I DO HAVE TO LOVE AND SPEAK AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT!"
Knox was placed on administrative leave after the incident. About three months later, the Union Township Board of Education filed a tenure case against her. Knox resigned from her position at the school in 2012.
Knox's settlement with the New Jersey Department of Education follows Knox's appeal to the department's decision to permanently revoke her certificates to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law. Knox submitted a proposal to have her certificates suspended for only three years.
Her agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education was approved by the New Jersey Board of Examiners on Dec. 8.
Knox also filed a lawsuit in 2013 against the Board of Education claiming that the Board's actions against her for her Facebook post were violations against her rights to religious liberty and free speech. In her lawsuit, Knox sought reinstatement and back pay.
That lawsuit was quietly settled in September, and few details have been made publicly available due to a confidentiality agreement.
"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 concerns," said Knox's attorney, Demetrios Stratis.
While LGBT activists naturally demanded that the school board reprimand Knox for her Facebook posts, even representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union publicly defended Knox's right to freedom of speech.
"Although we do not agree with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox's personal Facebook page, her comments are protected by the First Amendment," Ed Barocas, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, told NJ.com in 2011. "The ACLU believes that the response to offensive speech is not the restriction of speech, but more speech."