By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com October 19 2011 5:20 PM ET
New Jersey governor Chris Christie turned his frank talk toward allegations that a high school teacher made antigay comments on Facebook, calling the incident “disturbing.”
The Star-Ledger reports that Christie commented on the matter involving Viki Knox, a special education teacher at Union High School, to 770 WABC Radio on Wednesday morning. Last week, it was reported that Knox, also a faculty adviser to a student Bible study group, called homosexuality a “perverted spirit” and compared it to “cancer” while complaining about her school’s recognition of LGBT History Month in October.
Christie told the radio station, “I think that kind of example is not a positive one at all to be setting for folks who have such an important and influential position in our society. I'm really concerned about those kinds of statements being made.” He added that he would “like to see an examination of how that teacher conducts herself in the classroom,” a nod toward his proposal to change the teacher evaluation process in New Jersey.
Garden State Equality, the statewide LGBT lobbying group, and the Human Rights Campaign delivered more than 75,000 petition signatures on Tuesday asking the Union Township school board to take action against Knox. The groups question how the teacher, who denounced the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal on Twitter last month, can uphold the state’s strict new antibullying law that Christie signed this year.
The district has opened an investigation into the conduct of Knox, who is on leave from her position and has retained an attorney through her union. Her pastor has defended her actions as free speech.