Gay-rights activists gathered at a New Jersey high school tonight to demand a response from board members after a teacher posted anti-gay remarks on her Facebook page.
Garden State Equality planned the demonstration to coincide with the Union Township School Board meeting. Openly gay teenagers appeared at the meeting to demand 49-year-old special education teacher Viki Knox be fired from Union Township High School.
"I felt safe until all of this, because I can only imagine how many students she said it to," said Samantha Abreu, a junior.
Outrage over Knox's comments erupted last week when a parent in the school district where she teaches saw the posts in which she described homosexuality as "perverted" and said it "breeds like cancer."
The parent forwarded it to an attorney who alerted the school district and called for Knox's firing.
At the school board meeting Tuesday, another freshman, who gave her name as Stephanie, said, "She's my in-class support teacher, and she switched me with another student. I did nothing wrong. I found out from another student she did this to gays, lesbians and bisexuals."
But there were also supporters, who argued that Knox has a right to free speech.
"In America, we have a right to believe what we do, and share our views without people taking it personally," said Harold Boyd.
Pastor Paul Simpson said, "She speaks in Biblical values and we stand with her in solidarity."
Officials from gay rights groups said that although Knox's alleged anti-gay views are protected by the Constitution, she has a responsibility as a teacher to be a role model for students.
Knox is on paid administrative leave as the board continues to investigate.
Garden State Equality previously issued a statement questioning Knox's ability as a teacher to enforce the state's new anti-bullying law. The law was signed in January and is considered among the toughest in the country for its requirement that schools have anti-bullying policies.
The law was adopted after the suicide last year of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman whose roommate is accused of using a webcam to spy on his intimate encounter with another man.