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Anoka-Hennepin school board ends policy blamed for bullying

The school board voted Monday night to replace a controversial policy with a new one that they say will foster a safer and more tolerant environment for students. Critics say the district's old "neutrality" policy, which restricted teachers from addressing issues such as sexuality, left students at the mercy of bullies.
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The school board voted Monday night to replace a controversial policy with a new one that they say will foster a safer and more tolerant environment for students. Critics say the district's old "neutrality" policy, which restricted teachers from addressing issues such as sexuality, left students at the mercy of bullies.

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Anoka-Hennepin school board tries again on sexual orientation policy

District leaders are meeting Monday night to discuss a new policy on how staff members should treat a sensitive issue. The district's current policy requires that all staffers remain neutral on subjects of sexual orientation. Critics say that rule leaves students open to bullies and sexual harassment. But a second proposal didn't fare much better after it drew fire from both sides in the debate.

Anoka-Hennepin teachers union backs new policy on sexual orientation

The Associated Press reports Education Minnesota overwhelmingly supports the district's new policy, which would replace the district's controversial "neutrality" rule. And the school district responds to an article in Rolling Stone magazine about the rash of suicides among gay students in the schools.

Anoka-Hennepin ditches proposed 'controversial topics' policy

The district had plans to replace its current policy, which requires that staff stay neutral on topics of sexual orientation, with another set of rules that would ban teachers from advocating their personal beliefs on the subject. But after hearing a outpouring of opposition to the new proposal, the district is headed back to the drawing board again.

Anoka superintendent apologizes, says 'no doubt' bullying can contribute to suicide

The superintendent says the latest statement is both an acknowledgement that bullying could have been a factor in the rash of student suicides and an apology for an earlier message, which indicated there was no evidence that harassment contributed to the tragedies.

Anoka-Hennepin teachers tell district to ditch policies on GLBT issues

Teachers in the Anoka-Hennepin School District aren't happy about the old policy or a new one that could replace it. Union reps voted Monday against any policy that would dictate or limit classroom conversations on gay and lesbian issues. Some people who support the policy fear teachers otherwise would push a "gay lifestyle" on students. Critics say the policy leaves students at the mercy of harassment and bullies.

Anoka-Hennepin school board tries again with new 'controversial topics' policy

The school district's new policy says teachers shouldn't express personal opinions but can facilitate discussions. Some supporters say the new rule seems more inclusive, but critics say talk about topics like homosexuality should have no place in the classroom.

Anoka-Hennepin votes to settle bullying lawsuits; lone dissenter resigns in protest

The district agreed to pay $270,000, which will be divided among the six current and former students who brought the lawsuits, hire new staff and adopt a system to watch for and report bullying. Supporters who attended the board meeting Monday night called the decision "historic." But former Republican State Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, the lone "no" vote, stepped down from the board in protest. The Pioneer Press has details ...

Anoka-Hennepin teacher, anti-bullying advocate running for state Senate

A gay teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin School District and an outspoken critic of the district's controversial policy on sexual orientation announced Wednesday that he's running for the Minnesota Senate against Republican incumbent Michelle Benson. Jefferson Fietek says his community is struggling with poverty, suicide and bullying but that elected officials are ignoring it.