News (USA)

Minnesota school board labels conversations about LGBT students ‘controversial’

Minnesota school board labels conversations about LGBT students ‘controversial’

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — During its meeting before a packed room with a standing room only crowd Monday, the Anoka-Hennepin Minnesota School District’s board proposed a new “Controversial Topics Curriculum Policy” to replace the current “neutral policy” that prohibits the district’s teachers from talking about homosexuality in the classroom.

Audience member at Anoka-Hennepin School Board meeting.

Advocates and allies of LGBTQ students objected saying that the policy does not specify what those “controversial topics” are.

Tammy Aaberg, whose son Justin was one of nearly a dozen Anoka-Hennepin students who committed suicide after anti-gay bullying since the 2009 school year, wasn’t happy about calling the policy “controversial.”

In a statement she read before the board, Aaberg told officials, “I read the policy and my heart started breaking all over again. Because now we’re going from neutral on sexual orientation to labeling LBGT kids as controversial.”

Others seemed confused about what can or cannot be discussed in the classroom, which is why they urged the board to clarify the proposed policy before voting on it next month.

Opponents of any changes to the current policy also voiced their concerns, one woman telling the board, “We were a model for the nation at protecting kids from homosexual propaganda. The sexual orientation curriculum policy is an excellent policy.”

The board seemed cautiously optimistic that it was taking a proper course of action.

Board member Scott Wenzel told those in attendance, “Am I totally happy with it, absolutely not but I think we’re moving forward to satisfy and clear up some misunderstandings in our school district and create a safer school for our students.”

The board read through the policy Monday night, and will read through it one more time before they make a final decision in January.

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