The Big Story Blog

A-H sexual orientation review concerns some parents

Posted at 1:42 PM on December 8, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Education

MPR News reporter Elizabeth Dunbar has been working today's story on Anoka-Hennepin's review of its sexual orientation "neutrality" policy and curriculum.

Dunbar's been trying to get reaction from parents who've raised past concerns about changing the policy and she sent us this update:

A group of conservative parents who have said they wanted the district to prevent teachers from advocating views about homosexuality that conflicted with the views their children were exposed to at home and in church did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

But Brian Tommerdahl, who shares that perspective and was among a group of parents and community members who worked on the sexual orientation curriculum policy, said he, too, has concerns about how the new proposed policy would be interpreted. He pointed to one part of the policy that says the board "recognizes the importance of providing information about controversial topics in a democracy."

"Who is going to be providing that information? Who is going to decipher it? Is it going to go through the normal citizens' panel of reviewing materials for curriculum?" Tommerdahl asked.

The other question is how to define controversial, he said.

"Some people will consider traditional marriage, something that's been within the history and core of our society for millenniums, as controversial. Someone will look at gay marriage as being non-controversial or controversial," he said.

Still, Tommerdahl said the new policy could be workable if some definitions and more specific language were added before the board approves it.


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.