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Patricia Jannuzzi, a Catholic high school teacher in New Jersey, will think twice about posting her opinions on Facebook again. After the teacher read an open letter Dan Savage wrote to likely presidential Republican candidate and proud homophobe Ben Carson, she unloaded on Facebook.
In a post that's now deleted, Jannuzzi wrote that the gay "agenda" seeks to "reengineer western civ into a slow extinction," reports MyCentralJersey.com, a website for multiple New Jersey newspapers. Her post drew the ire of both a reality TV star and an Oscar-winning actress.
Greg Bennett, a former student at Jannuzzi's Immaculata High School in Somerville and a former cast member on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, responded to Jannuzzi on Twitter and signed a Change.org position to end hate speech at Immaculata. "I wouldn't feel comfortable going into a class taught by someone who so blatantly thinks who I am is defective in some way," Bennett, who is gay, told MyCentralJersey.com. He further noted, "I don't think that she should influence the minds of students on a daily basis."
Another gay former student of Jannuzzi's, Scott Lyons, shared on Facebook a letter he sent to his onetime teacher. "While I respect the fact that people have different opinions on the matter what I can tell you from my heart is that I urge you to be careful with your words and the messaging you are putting out there," he wrote.
Lyons received backing from a famous relative, his aunt Susan Sarandon, who voiced support for her nephew on her own Facebook page. "So proud of my nephew Scott and the dialogue he started," Sarandon wrote. "...High school is a tough time anyway ... students don't need teachers making it even more difficult."
Immaculata principal Jean Kline told MyCentralJersey.com that the school is reviewing its social media policy and that administrators "have determined that the information posted on this social media page has not been reflected in the curriculum content of the classes [Jannuzzi] teaches." The administration ordered Jannuzzi to take her Facebook page down, Kline said, adding that the school is "dedicated to creating a school environment that promotes mutual respect and provides a challenging academic program, rooted in the Gospel message of Jesus Christ."