The Big Story Blog

Changes ahead for Anoka-Hennepin orientation code?

Posted at 9:44 AM on December 8, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Education

With pressure coming from lawsuits and a federal probe, Anoka-Hennepin, Minnesota's largest school district, is weighing an overhaul of its policies on sexual orientation and bullying.

Here is the latest from MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar:

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board on Monday will hear a proposal to abolish the district's sexual orientation curriculum policy and revise its harassment policy.

The proposed changes come in the wake of major scrutiny of the district for its handling of bullying and harassment against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Several students filed a federal lawsuit against the district in July, and the U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the district's response to bullying and harassment.

The sexual orientation curriculum policy, which has been in place since 2009 and is sometimes called the "neutrality policy," says sexual orientation issues aren't part of the regular curriculum and that teachers should remain neutral if the topic comes up in class. But some students, parents and advocacy groups have argued the policy contributes to a hostile atmosphere for some students.

The lawsuit, which is being led by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, says school officials failed to protect them from bullying and harassment. As part of the lawsuit, the students and two civil rights groups demanded the district get rid of the sexual orientation curriculum policy.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.