New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has criticized Union Township high school teacher Viki Knox for writing that homosexuality is a “perverted sin” that “breeds like cancer” on her Facebook wall, characterizing the comments as “disturbing” and not a positive example “to be setting for folks who have such an important and influential position in our society.”
Now, former New Jersey Govs. Brendan Byrne (D) and Tom Kean (R) are also weighing in. During an interview with NJ.com on Thursday, the two leaders condemned the content of Knox’s remarks, but suggested that the state should not regulate speech outside of the classroom:
Q: A New Jersey teacher has come under fire for posting anti-gay comments on her Facebook page. Assuming she didn’t do it on school time or property, should this be grounds for considering her termination?
GOV. BYRNE: Certainly time has passed her by. What she’s done is clearly not in the mainstream anymore. What reaction there should be, I don’t know. These are views you see very little of anymore, and I’m disappointed in the teacher.
GOV. KEAN: Well, you certainly don’t want anything like that expressed in the classroom, so that’s the first question — did any of this get said in the classroom? If it was only expressed outside of school through her private correspondence, then it’s free speech.
The school district is currently investigating whether Knox’s strongly expressed religious beliefs “have seeped into her classroom.”