School Board Chair Defends Adding Hate Group Member To Anti-Bullying Task Force

Anoka-Hennepin School Board Chair Tom Heidemann

Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District is supposed to be advancing a new anti-bullying policy as mandated by the Department of Justice, but it doesn’t seem to be moving in the right direction. Last week, it appointed Bryan Lindquist of the Parents Action League, an anti-LGBT hate group, to its anti-bullying task force, but sent a canned rejection letter to qualified advocates, including the outspoken mother of a student who committed suicide. Now, School Board Chair Tom Heidemann is defending the decision:

HEIDEMANN: Based on the testimony he’s (Lindquist) had at the board, he’s concerned about bullying harassment of students. I think again that in order for us to be effective as an organization, we cannot exclude any person based on their religious beliefs.

To characterize Lindquist’s point of view as simply a diverse religious perspective is a gross understatement. When he requested that the Parents Action League’s feedback be considered in the school’s policy, here are some of the ideas he advocated for:

  • Special recognition for “ex-homosexuals and ex-transgenders,” as well as support for students whose religious beliefs opposed homosexuality.
  • Trainings and presentations conducted by anti-LGBT and ex-gay groups.
  • Teaching students that being gay could be bad and LGBT advocacy should be questioned.
  • Teaching that homosexuality is a disorder, even though it hasn’t been classified as such by medical professionals for over 40 years.
  • Teaching that AIDS is “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” (GRID), in other words, AIDS is a gay disease and homosexuality is a health risk to society.

Heidemann rejected these ideas, but didn’t condemn their level of offense or harm. Given his warm embrace of Lindquist, perhaps he now feels there is room for such blatant anti-LGBT animus in Anoka-Hennepin. Of course, that was the district’s problem in the first place.