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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.
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The Anoka-Hennepin teachers union has come out overwhelmingly in favor of the district's new policy on sexual orientation. "Ultimately we believe this (proposed) policy reflects what works for students," the local president tells the Associated Press.

The proposed policy would replace the district's controversial "neutrality" policy, which critics say leaves students at the mercy of bullies.

The district attracted widespread attention after a rash of suicides that some blame on harassment in the schools. Rolling Stone magazine was the most recent to weigh in, with an article titled "One Town's War on Gay Teens."

The district responded in a press release, calling the article "a grossly distorted portrayal."

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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 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.

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-Hennepin schools slam Rolling Stone article as "distorted portrayal"

An article in Rolling Stone magazine suggests the Anoka-Hennepin school district contributed to the suicides of gay teenagers by fostering an anti-gay climate. Now the district is hitting back by criticizing the article and defending its work toward ending bullying and harassment.

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 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 might change neutrality policy on sexual orientation

The school district is considering changes to its neutrality policy, which critics say is leaving some kids defenseless to bullies and harassment. A new policy in its place would tell staff members not to bring personal views into classroom conversations. A district spokesman says the new policy would be broader. "It's not saying you can't talk about [controversial topics]."

Both sides criticize Anoka-Hennepin proposal to replace sexual orientation policy

About 60 people attended a school board meeting Monday night, and those who spoke had nothing good to say. Opponents of the current policy say the district would just be replacing one vague policy with another and also said the word "controversial" could stigmatize gay and lesbian students. Critics on the other side said changing the policy would open the door to "pro-homosexual teaching."