In a response to the increased media coverage of the anti-gay environment in its schools, Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin district now hosts a specific GLBT page on its website where it has posted information on its controversial Sexual Orientation Curriculum policy (also known as the neutrality policy) and its approach to the nine student suicides allegedly motivated by bullying.
The controversy over the board’s neutrality policy — which prohibits staff from teaching about homosexuality — has sparked both a lawsuit and an investigation by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education following claims that the district’s policy enables an anti-gay culture of harassment and bullying. The district, which has 38,000 students and is Minnesota’s fourth largest, lies within presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann’s district, but she has not yet commented on the situation.
Instead, the Anoka-Hennepin district has issued a specific statement on the policy:
“The school board feels the policy is appropriate for the community and is not changing the policy at this time. [...] The district’s Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy is constitutional. The Supreme Court has recognized that public school officials have a valid interest in taking neutral positions on matters of public controversy.”
Included among the materials available on the new GLBT website are the relevant school board policies, staff invoices regarding the events of the past year, and training materials devised to help staff better address gay students, as noted on the new site page: