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Anoka-Hennepin district bullying lawsuit could be settled next week

An agenda for the school board's work session Monday night includes time to address a "consent decree" following a closed session with the district's attorney. Six former and current students claim the district failed to address their complaints of being bullied because of their sexual orientation.
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An agenda for the school board's work session Monday night includes time to address a "consent decree" following a closed session with the district's attorney. Six former and current students claim the district failed to address their complaints of being bullied because of their sexual orientation.

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Anoka-Hennepin school district approves lawsuit settlement

The settlement applies to two lawsuits that claimed the school district failed to protect students from bullying that was based on sexual orientation. The students will receive $270,000 total. The one board member who voted against the settlement resigned after it was approved, saying it sets a bad precedent.

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 ...

Progress, lingering concerns in Anoka-Hennepin school bullying approach

Students, teachers and staff at Anoka-Hennepin say a new anti-bullying policy appears to be making strides. The school district is scrutinized and facing lawsuits after a series of student suicides--some of which are tied to bullying. The Star Tribune reports there are fewer incidents so far this year. But some teachers especially remain concerned about the district’s neutral stance on discussion sexual orientation.

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The district's task force also has no students or school counselors. Instead, the Pioneer Press reports, the group has a prevention specialist, three public relations experts and a lawyer. The district has come under fire after a rash of student suicides that some blame on bullying. Critics say the district's policies do nothing to protect students from harassment.

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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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.

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School board members for the Anoka-Hennepin District will delay a final decision on language to guide controversial classroom discussions. The policy would cover how teacher discuss sexual orientation and religion. Officials say they want to nail down some additional details before voting on the plan.