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A controversial group's presentation at a Becker School Board meeting this week was met with protests from LGBTQ+ supporters.

The special board meeting on Monday was held so the Minnesota Child Protection League could present a "different perspective" on transgender youth, according to the presentation. 

The Child Protection League, led by Barb Anderson, says it's an organization that aims to protect kids from exploitation and indoctrination. However, the group's anti-gay rhetoric has led to it being designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has earned Anderson a spot on GLAAD's anti-LGBT watchlist

Activists said the Minnesota Child Protection League's presentation offered an anti-transgender message and they questioned why the school district would give the group a platform, according to FOX 9.

Monday's presentation came months after OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, gave a talk at a board meeting. That presentation also sparked complaints from some in the community, according to reports. 

This led to the school board approving Minnesota Child Protection League's presentation so board members could hear "the other side" of things, Becker High School social studies teacher and Gay Straight Alliance advisor Heather Abrahamson told the St. Cloud Times.

“I don't understand how you could think there's another side to human rights, but they claim that there is," Abrahamson told the paper. 

The board's decision to allow an anti-gay group to present made national headlines and drew swift reaction from the school community, with many saying there aren't two sides to LGBTQ+ rights. 

This led to more than 100 protesters sharing messages of support for the LGBTQ+ community at Monday's presentation, the Star Tribune said

At the start of Monday's meeting, the school board read a prepared statement that acknowledged in the days leading up to the meeting, the school community expressed "a lot of concern" about the Child Protection League's upcoming presentation

"It is critically important to this board and to the ongoing success of our school district that your voices are heard and that you are a part of our work," the prepared statement said. 

The board then explained why the Child Protection League was making the presentation. The statement said: 

"As a school board, we recognize that we are learners, just like the students we serve. Therefore, a critical part of our jobs as board members is to listen and engage. We see that it is essential for us as individual board members and as a collective to engage with a variety of perspectives and voices to ensure a complete picture.

"During the previous presentation, there were questions about the completeness of what was presented. We requested the citations and background information from that presentation. Several of the citations were just received this afternoon, however no background information nor several key recommendations are provided to understand them.

"To alleviate this, we continued to ask our leadership in Superintendent Schmidt to seek the additional information. He identified several groups, some of those declined an invitation and this group tonight was the first one that volunteered to present and provided us their presentation materials for review."

No video of the meeting made available

The board stressed it is "committed to meeting the needs of all students, staff and the community ... And when we say 'all,' we mean it. Hate has no home here. All people are respected and cared for in the Becker Public School District," according to the prepared statement. 

Monday's meeting did not allow for a public forum. The school board said the option to comment on the presentation will be available at the next board meeting on April 4. 

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There appears to be no video of Monday's meeting, only presentation documents, despite the district saying on Facebook prior to the meeting "We always post a recorded version of the board meeting within 24 hours."

Superintendent Jeremy Schmidt told Bring Me The News on Thursday there isn't a full recording of the presentation "due to the technical issues that took place in the different setting" (the meeting was held in the district's performing arts center, while they're usually held in the teaching and learning center, according to board documents).

Schmidt did offer to try to get a transcript from the presenters but said the speakers are out of the country so it "may take a while" before he hears back from them. 

Bring Me The News has reached out to the superintendent and school board for additional information.

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