Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, notorious for its toxic environment for gay students, is considering replacing its harmful “don’t say gay” neutrality policy with a new policy that still treats LGBT issues as “controversial” and prevents teachers from discussing them. At last night’s school board meeting, the district’s teachers union spoke out against both the old and proposed new policies, requesting that educators be trusted to mediate student discussions about LGBT issues without regulation. The union’s president, Julie Blaha, explained how the policies interfere with creating a safe environment in the classroom:
BLAHA: We need to clearly differentiate between what is an issue and what is somebody’s identity. We agree that teachers should not promote a personal agenda in the classroom. Our role’s not to tell students what to think but help them think more deeply.
Two Anoka High School seniors also presented petitions signed by over 350 students in favor of dropping the “neutrality” policy and scrapping its “controversial topics” replacement. Many conservatives continued to oppose any LGBT-inclusion, arguing that the school should never be allowed to present information that contradicts or challenges their families’ belief that homosexuality is immoral.
The school board is expected to vote on the new policy on January 23.