Anoka-Hennepin teachers say training test requires them to support controversial policy

Some staff members in the district say they can't pass a training test without essentially backing a policy that critics say puts students in danger.

Some teachers in Anoka-Hennepin schools say they're failing a training test because they refuse to say that a controversial policy protects students.

Some staffers tell City Pages the test requires them to back a policy that limits discussions on gay and lesbian issues. The district says it won’t punish teachers who fail the test. Still, some staff members say they’re in a hard spot.

The policy has sparked a culture war and drawn national attention after a rash of student suicides that some say were triggered by bullying. The Southern Poverty Law Center has sued the district on behalf of five students, and the Department of Justice has launched an investigation.

Critics tell the New York Times the district’s stance creates a hostile atmosphere and prevents staff from reaching out to students who may be targeted by bullies.

The district has told MPR there’s no evidence that its policy is linked to the suicides.

The Minnesota Independent looks into the roots of the controversy.

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