Facing a lawsuit from students alleging that it does not properly respond to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District is considering a new curriculum policy that would allow staff to discuss sexual orientation as a “controversial topic.” At last night’s school board meeting, pro-bullying conservatives opposed any change to the school’s “neutrality policy,” which prohibits teachers from discussing issues of sexual orientation.
The anti-gay group opposing the change is the “Parents Action League,” led by the Minnesota Family Council’s Barb Anderson,who regularly supports various anti-gay hate groups. The theme of their message: don’t let children learn that being gay is okay.
Anderson decried the possibility of “homosexual propaganda flooding the classroom,” reducing all LGBT identities to mere behavior:
ANDERSON: There is no other group that continually seeks to force their way into the school curriculum in every subject matter and every grade level to normalize their unhealthy and unnatural behavior.
She was joined by Janet Boynes, a friend of the Bachmanns and self-proclaimed “ex-gay” ministry leader who admitted in her own book she’s bisexual. It’s worth noting that Anderson is also vice president of Boynes’ ex-gay ministry. Boynes unsurprisingly promoted her ex-gay junk science and joined Anderson in condemning gay identities as a “destructive lifestyle,” opposing “any acceptance of this behavior.”
BOYNES: I am a former lesbian. Gay advocates often compare this issue to race and say that homosexuality is who they are and that they are born that way. There’s no scientific evidence to prove that… There are thousands of us who are former homosexuals have left behind this destructive lifestyle. I can assure you, gay activists will continue to use the curriculum as a means to force an acceptance of this behavior on kids and this school district.
Another member of Anderson’s Parents Action League, Lori Thompson, complained the school might lose its reputation for “protecting” kids from learning that gay people exist:
THOMPSON: We were a model for the nation in protecting kids from classroom homosexual propaganda… The gay activists now have it all and the school board will have to deal with the fallout on many levels as you watch how they will weave this topic throughout the curriculum at all grade levels all at the expense of the children. What a shame.
Activists trying to improve the climate for LGBT students at Anoka-Hennepin argued that the new policy still falls short of providing the affirmation and support that LGBT students need to feel safe. Tammy Aaberg has been an outspoken advocate against the school’s policies since her son Justin committed suicide last year after enduring relentless bullying. She said that rather than treat issues of gender and sexuality as “controversial,” the school should “recognize, validate and support all students for who they are as a person.”
Watch a local news report of last night’s meeting from KARE 11:
The board will likely vote on the issue in late January.