Friday, October 14, 2011

Psychic In New Jersey

This is not a post about football, nor is it about gambling.

Probably the most intriguing National Football League game "on the card" this weekend pits the Detroit Lions, somehow undefeated in five games, vs. the San Francisco 49ers, somehow losers of only one game this year. In their effort to get an equal amount of money betting on each team, have made the Lions a 4-point favorite

But if you're not sure if Detroit will win and cover the spread, consult Steve Goldstein, head of the gay-rights group Garden State Equality. Surely he knows. The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. reports

School officials in Union Township are investigating allegations that a teacher at Union High School posted comments on her Facebook site criticizing a school display recognizing Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History Month and calling homosexuality "perverted."

On Saturday, a local attorney who said he had initially been contacted by a parent, wrote to the district calling for the teacher’s dismissal.

The lawyer, John Paragano, a former township councilman, provided the district with what he said was a copy of the Facebook thread that included the offending remarks.

A copy was also provided to The Star-Ledger, in which the teacher, Viki Knox, allegedly referred to homosexuality as, "a perverted spirit that has existed from the beginning of creation," and a "sin" that "breeds like cancer."

"Hateful public comments from a teacher cannot be tolerated," wrote Paragano, also a former Union Township Municipal Court judge. "She has a right to say it. But she does not have a right to keep her job after saying it."

Union Chief School Administrator Patrick Martin said the district is investigating the incident.

The legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, Ed Barocas, stated

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....

The school has the right to investigate whether she is performing her job in accordance with school policies and the state's Law Against Discrimination.

Unlike Steve Goldstein, the ACLU does not know whether Ms. Knox is performing her job properly and believes that is the controlling issue in evaluating the teacher's fitness. But Steve Goldstein can tell the future. In fact, he is sure

Teachers are supposed to be role models for our children, not hatemongers. I don’t see how this teacher could possibly be effective in implementing the state’s new anti-bullying law, designed precisely to teach children that bullying, including cyber-bullying, is unacceptable.

High school teachers are less role models than subject instructors. Determining whether to hire- and, even more so, to fire- one over his or her political beliefs and/or lifestyle is not a road we should want to travel.

But never mind. Steve Goldstein just knows how Ms. Knox would respond to an alleged incident of bullying. Surely, she would not be distracted by the responsibilities of her job, her job specifications, sense of professionalism, or even direction by her principal or other school administrators. She thinks homosexuality is a sin and therefore would tolerate bullying. Goldstein knows this.

There are, however, more important considerations and money to be made. Stop reading this post, place your bets, and beat the spread. Call or send a text message to Goldstein: will the Giants really beat the Bills by at least three points?

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