October 13, 2011
>NJ Teacher Makes Anti-Gay Remarks Over School’s Support of LGBT History Month
This morning, The Star Ledger reported that school officials in Union Township were investigating allegations that a Union High School teacher posted disparaging remarks on her Facebook page about a school display recognizing LGBT History Month.
Garden State Equality obtained a copy of the Facebook thread where the teacher allegedly stated, “Homosexuality is a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation.”
You can read the full text here.
GLSEN in collaboration with The Anti-Defamation League and StoryCorps developed Unheard Voices, a LGBT History Resource for schools to use throughout the month. You can view the complete resource containing oral history clips and lesson plans here.
The teacher’s posts on her Facebook page have drawn criticism from the local community.
The ACLU of New Jersey issued a statement:
“Although we do not agree with the sentiments expressed on Ms. Knox’s personal Facebook page, her comments are protected by the First Amendment. The ACLU believes that the response to offensive speech is not the restriction of speech, but more speech.”
Events like LGBT History Month serve as valuable learning opportunities for students and they have shown to reduce bullying.
Findings from the GLSEN 2009 National School Climate Survey have confirmed the positive impact of inclusive curriculum and supportive educators.
GLSEN compiled a New Jersey Research Brief on the specific experiences of LGBT students in the Garden State.
Students in schools with LGBT-inclusive curriculum or resources in place heard fewer homophobic epithets (e.g., “faggot” or “dyke”) than those without an inclusive curriculum.
Additionally, close to three-fourths (73.7%) of students with no supportive staff felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, but only 51.5% of students who had many supportive staff at their school felt unsafe.
Further research indicated that students with many supportive staff had a greater sense of being a part of their school community and resulted in higher grade point averages than other students (3.1 vs 2.7).
Teachers serve as everyday role models for students to look to for help throughout their time in school. Every student should feel valued and safe regardless of their difference.