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Teachers criticize Anoka-Hennepin district over anti-bullying panel -- with no teachers on it

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.
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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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 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 teachers aim to show policy a lesson

The school district's proposed policy is a response to accusations of harboring anti-gay sentiment. The measure would bar teachers from taking a stance on "controversial topics." The language of the policy is similar to the district's current one, which has some teachers calling the effort "redundant" and "unnecessary."

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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.