Since the suicide of her son, Justin, Tammy Aaberg has been an outspoken advocate against bullying in his school district, Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, and the surrounding communities. She started an ever-growing organization in his name, Justin’s Gift, to provide safe spaces and resources for LGBT teens. Given her direct involvement and awareness on the issues, it would make perfect sense for her to be a part of the district’s new anti-bullying task force, as mandated by the Department of Justice. Instead, a member of the anti-LGBT hate group was appointed, and Aaberg received a canned rejection letter, which she shared with Truth Wins Out.
The canned letter does not reference the loss of her son that was largely influenced by the school’s toxic climate, nor her work advocating to improve that environment over the past two years:
Unfortunately, we could not appoint everyone who applied. We reviewed the applications thoroughly and worked hard to select committee members who would represent a broad cross-section of the community, being especially mindful of protected classes, gender balance, and religious affiliation.
We will keep your name on file as a person interested in this topic. If at some point in their work the task force wishes to seek additional input, we will invite comment from you and the other applicants who were not appointed to the group. We will also send you a link to the final report when it is posted online.
How committed can the district be to improving the safety of its school when it so coldly rejects one of its community’s biggest advocates? The faculty advisor for the local gay-straight alliance was also rejected. But the task force does want to hear from an advocate of ex-gay therapy who wants children to learn that homosexuality directly causes AIDS. For a school mandated by the government to do better by its students, its priorities certainly seem misplaced.