UNION, NJ – Former Union High School teacher Jenye Viki Knox, who resigned six years ago, settled her lawsuit against the district for $132,500 on June 5.
The settlement awards Knox $132,500: $24,500 for back wages, $63,833.33 for claims of emotional distress and $44,166.67 for attorney's fees and costs.
Knox was forced to resign in 2011 after she posted on her personal Facebook page that homosexuality is a “perverted spirit” and “unnatural immoral behavior”. Knox was a tenured special education teacher at the time.
According to NJ Civil Settlements, in her suit Knox claimed that in September 2011 she publicly posted on Facebook about a billboard at Union High School that promoted "alternative lifestyles contrary to her private religious beliefs." She claimed that she responded to attacks to her posting by expressing her belief, based on biblical text, of "homosexuality as a sin and disobedience to God." Her lawsuit claimed that her posts were made during non-working hours without the use of school computers.
A bulletin board at the high school promoting Lesbian Gay Bi Transgender History Month, prompted Knox to post, “UHS is not the setting to promote, encourage, support, and foster homosexuality”.
In December 2011, Knox was suspended without pay and tenure charges were filed against her. In June 2012, Knox submitted her letter of resignation.
According to NJ Civil Settlements, which compiles a partial list of settlements paid by New Jersey government agencies and their insurers to those who have sued them, Knox claimed that the Board's actions caused her health to deteriorate "to the point where she could no longer work from the stress of the intimidation, harassment, and emotional distress that resulted from the investigation and the [school officials'] actions."