Suspended teacher seeks to retire

May 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM
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UNION, N.J., May 17 (UPI) -- A New Jersey teacher suspended after allegedly posting anti-gay comments on her Facebook page last year is seeking to retire rather than face tenure charges.

Jenye Knox, a 50-year-old special education teacher at Union Township High School, has filed a motion asking that a tenure charge case before a state administrative law judge be delayed while she seeks a disability pension for a back injury and on "psychological grounds," The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reported.

A judge Wednesday agreed to list the case as inactive for three months.

Knox's school district said in charges of unbecoming conduct she had written on her personal Facebook page that homosexuality is a "perverted spirit" and "unnatural immoral behavior." The charges said Knox also criticized other teachers on Facebook for putting up a "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender" bulletin board at the school and for proposing a gay-straight alliance at the school.

Hundreds of people turned out for several school board meetings last fall, both in support of and against Knox.

Knox, who has taught more than 20 years, earned $72,270 in 2011. She has been suspended without pay for more than 120 days.

She had become eligible to continue receiving her salary again a few weeks ago but she will not be paid while her case is on the inactive list.

"Although I continue to maintain that I have done nothing that warrants me being disciplined ... the thought of going through a tenure trial causes a great deal of angst," Knox wrote. "Unfortunately for all concerned, this matter has already received great notoriety in the local community. Avoiding a hearing will allow the local community to start the healing process sooner."

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