Parents group petition defends Anoka-Hennepin's anti-gay policy

Categories: Education
laurie thompson.jpg
Laurie Thompson has 1,051 friends.
The Parents Action League, the influential group that has been on the knife's edge of Anoka-Hennpin's "neutrality" policy on homosexuality, stormed back into the spotlight at last night's school board meeting.

The policy has gotten the Anoka-Hennepin School District sued twice now, with the families of six students filing lawsuits through either the Southern Poverty Law Center of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It's also brought the district under investigation from the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Education.

But forget about all that. PAL has signatures!

Introducing a petition at the school board meeting with 1,052 signatures, PAL representative Laurie Thompson described the neutrality policy as "an excellent policy," before envisioning some sort of gay communism taking root.

"Academic instruction is sacrificed when indoctrination of specific viewpoints come into the classroom," Thompson said.

Thompson said schools should focus on things like math and literature, and leave all other subjects to parents' discretion.

Duran.jpg
Phil Duran warned the district it would get sued.
Thompson's petition had 1,052 signatures, either hard copy or digital. That comes in far lower than the 12,000-strong petition presented earlier, which calls for the policy's repeal, though Thompson pointed out that few of those signers actually live inside the district.

Thompson harked back to the creation of the neutrality policy in 2009. She said she was there, and watched three people who spoke in favor of the policy's passing. Thompson pointed out that one of those three was Phil Duran, legal director of Outfront Minnesota.

"Isn't it ironic," Thompson wondered, "that two and a half years ago, gay advocates encouraged the board to pass this policy, and now they're filing lawsuits to get the policy repealed?"

No, Laurie, it isn't ironic. Thank God you're not volunteering to teach kids about grammar.

Reached by phone, Phil Duran told City Pages that Thompson's right, and he was in fact there to support the neutrality policy. But Duran pointed out a couple things that put the lie to Thompson's testimony.

Duran says he wrote parts of the school district's current policy, including several sentences that have been held up with pride by board members and Superintendent Dennis Carlson in recent weeks. But he had nothing to do with the "neutrality"  sentence, which reads:

Anoka-Hennepin staff, in the course of their professional duties, shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation including but not limited to student led discussions.
Duran says Outfront Minnesota was never on board with that sentence, the key line that makes Anoka-Hennepin an outlier among Minnesota districts -- and puts it more in line with school policies in several southern states.

Duran said he communicated his concern about that line to school board member Scott Wenzel and the district's general counsel in 2009, but was ignored. Outfront still supported enacting the policy in 2009, Duran said, because the 1995 policy it was replacing was "deeply, deeply problematic."

But he says he knew where this was headed before the policy was passed.

"When the district put together the neutrality language, we told them two and a half years ago, that's going to be a problem," Duran said. "We told them two and a half years ago, you're going to get sued. Now they are getting sued, just like we told them they were going to get sued."

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23 comments
David Foureyes
David Foureyes

"No, Laurie, it isn't ironic. Thank God you're not volunteering to teach kids about grammar. "

Uh, I think you mean you're glad she's not volunteering to teach vocabulary (as she uses the word properly in context, however she appears to not know it's meaning), not grammar.

PS - If you meant for this to be ironic, cheers.

Erick Bobearick
Erick Bobearick

why is your freedom so much more important then mine or theirs ?

Johnny
Johnny

This is all about bullying and nothing to do with gay vs straight.  Work on the anti-bullying interventions and stop pandering to 'special interests'.  Every kid deserves the same services and considerations even if they are straight...........

green23
green23

Nobody is asking for "indoctrination in the classroom".The neutrality policy means that if you bully someone who is gay strictly because they are gay, the school will turn a blind eye to the behaviour. In fact, as the policy actually works in practise, the school goes beyond that to give a tacit wink and a nod to bullying gay students.

Schools should not be in the position of designating certain students as "fair game" for an "anything goes" practise of constant abuse. When these bullied students complain to the school, THEY are the ones who get punished and the bullies get to feel like good Christians doing God's work.

The real irony here is that Kirk just posted on the Bradlee Dean thread that, in America everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose without discrimination.

Sparky
Sparky

How did a neutral policy suddenly turn anti-gay?  If you're not for us you're against us?

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

What "anti-gay" policy?

And - "Phil Duran warned the district it would get sued"Bullies do as bullies do.  And if that isn't a bullying statement to attempt to get your way without a fight.  This lawsuit is nothing more than a scare tactic and will not work on the people that we now have seated on this board. 

I bet anyone $100, this lawsuit amounts in nothing more than the gay community frivolously wasting the tax payers dollar.Dinks!

We are coming for your 501c next outfront minnesota!  Starve the beast with a "Fair Tax"!

minblottermod
minblottermod

No, I didn't. From the OED definition: "...the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general." I assume "whole system and structure" includes vocabulary, among other things. Now, if you meant for THIS to be ironic... well, that explains my headache.

jww
jww

Kirk the Conservative Jerk-off is the least free of us all.  He is held hostage by his own ignorance and will likely die alone.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Bullying is bullying, and Anoka-Hennepin does not allow it.  The gay community is suggesting some should have special protection against bullying while others will not.  So what about the 120 lb. geeky kid?  I'm sure he takes some heat from kids larger than him from time to time.  Should he not receive "special protection"?

Sounds like the gay community themselves, is promoting bigotry in providing "special" protection under the law.

Bullying is bullying, and should not, and is not, tolerated at Anoka-Hennepin.  Is that not good enough?

And the Bradley Dean spin you are trying to warp the juvenilistic mush minds up in hear with, well; I said, "everyone has the right to believe whatever they choose without discrimination", not do something such as bullying.

green23
green23

Because it's not really neutral. Suppose some racist white students bullied black students. The school, being 'neutral', would refuse to punish the white students for their behaviour. They wouldn't want to "indoctrinate" students against racism, after all. I mean, who's to say if blacks are inferior or not, right? Some people say they're sub-human, but the school wouldn't want to take a position either way. They are just 'neutral'.

" If you're not for us, you're against us"Actually, that seems to be the position of the bullies. They don't seem to observe the school's 'neutrality' policy.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

It became anti-gay when homophobic assholes hid behind the policy and bullied gay children into suicide.   You must be proud of how much you hate gay people that even dead children aren't enough to make you reconsider how things are and try to change them.   How many dead children would be enough for you and kirk to actually think about changing this policy?    Is 10 gay kids enough?   100?    Please give a body count where you would drop the politics and actually try to make the world a better more tolerant place. 

jww
jww

Amen indeed!  This issue has nothing to do with gay vs. straight at all...other than the gay kids getting picked on by the straight kids along with a formal school policy that doesn't allow teachers to intervene in a situation where a gay kid is getting bullied by a straight kid.  Congrats, Johnny...you've won the heart and mind and most likely closeted penis (which helps to explain his pent-up homophobic/self denial rage) of Kirk the Conservative Shit-Head.  Well done.  Maybe he can come over in his Saturn to drop off his garbage and pirate your internet connection.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

How many kids have to die before you will put politics aside and try to change things for the better?     The people that are directly affected by this are saying there is a problem and it needs to be addressed yet you can't even find a shred of compassion in your heart.    Of course there is bullying everywhere to all types of people.   I saw tons of bullying in high school but I didn't see any suicides.   Obviously what is happening in Anoka is something different.   Anyone with a brain sees that something needs to change because there is obviously a problem.   What is wrong with you that dead children doesn't bring out your compassion and humanity?  

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

" If you're not for us, you're against us"You just gave a perfect description for the stance of the gay community!

And hey, racism and bigotry exists everywhere.  Being black, you know how much free shit I can get that your white ass cannot?  What did you ever do to me?  Why do I deserve things you don't?Guilty white people somehow think they're fixing something, when in turn they are perpetuating it.  Always herding people in groups...

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

No it did not become anti-gay!Nice spin!Bullying is Bullying, and IT IS AGAINST POLICY.This group is asking for "special" protections under the law that no one else would qualify for.  Do they want to be equals, or "special"?

jww
jww

Did you even read the lawsuit, dickhead?  Apparently they do watch people getting bullied and that is, in fact,  why they are getting sued, genius."Teachers have understood the SOCP as inhibiting them from aggressively responding to anti-gay harassment, inside or outside the classroom. The gag policy also prohibits school staff from countering anti-gay stereotypes or presenting basic factual information about LGBT people, even when necessary to address anti-gay hostility within the student body. For example, pursuant to District guidance, the SOCP prohibits staff from even mentioning the fact that it is the position of the American Psychological Association that being gay is not a choice—a position that is the consensus of all major accredited and professional mental health organizations. The SOCP severely limits or outright bars any discussion by school officials of issues related to LGBT people in or out of the classroom, a limitation that is not placed on any other category of persons. "not a choice—a position that is the consensus of all major accredited and professional mental health organizations. The SOCP severely limits or outright bars any discussion by school officials of issues related to LGBT people in or out of the classroom, a limitation that is not placed on any other category of persons. "Your obsession with homosexuality leads me to believe that YOU have pent up homophobic/self denial rage.  I don't disagree with you because of it.  It is just interesting to me that you are so familiar with studies on homosexuality.I speak my mind against YOU because I am convinced that YOU are a COMPLETE FUCKING MORON.  And it is personal...don't try to pass this off on some group with whom you try to identify yourself.I speak my mind against Michele Bachmann because she is also a complete fucking moron..You see...I'm not a blind, ignorant, uninformed ideologue like you.  I have voted across party lines in every election in which I have ever voted.  I've voted in Republican primaries.  I can do this because I am not a blind partisan douche like you.  I have friends because I am not an asshole like you.  I can spell because I have an education, unlike you.  I don't bring my garbage to work, unlike you.  I have original thoughts, unlike you.  I have compassion for people who are different from me, unlike you and excluding you.  I have sympathy for people who are hurting, unlike you.  I don't judge the poor, unlike you.  I'm not lonely, unlike you.  I don't go through life afraid, unlike you.  I also do not drive a Saturn...but that is just a matter of taste.The differences between you and me hardly have anything to do with politics.  I simply will not tolerate the smug and uninformed.  You are the most smug and least informed person I have ever seen.  You are also incapable of original thought...which explains your propensity for cutting and pasting and also not being able to apply your factoids to the main idea of ANY article that you EVER comment on.  You are dumb and dumb is forever.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

"formal school policy that doesn't allow teachers to intervene in a situation where a gay kid is getting bullied by a straight kid"

Flat out lie!

They CANNOT watch ANYONE get bullied.  That in itself would be a crime.

But hey, liberals lie, look towards Obama for examples! So many campaign promises.

but anyway,So, you say we disagree with you because we have "pent-up homophobic/self denial rage"?

OK, so that makes you a pent up closet Conservative Republican cause you speak your mind against me?

Hat tip to you sir!   I'm gonna use the hell out of that one on you fools.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

kirk gay children are actually dying.   This isn't some theory people are coming up with.   The whole controversy has to do with actual dead children.   If a bunch of 120 lb weaklings were committing suicide and their parents were blaming some policy I'd want to change that policy too.   It is so obvious there is something unique going on in Anoka and homophobic monsters like you are fighting change because your homophobia trumps your compassion for dead children.  That's why you are a shitty terrible person.   That's why you made fun of these dead children all the time.    You hate gay people so much it makes you defend a policy that is obviously causing the deaths of gay children. 

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

Hey, no one should ever die due to bullying.But "special" protections under the law?What about the 120 lb. geeky kid that gets picked on by kid bigger than him?Screw him cause he isn't gay?"No special protection for you"!

green23
green23

Kirk wrote:"And hey, racism and bigotry exists everywhere."

So does crime and violence. We don't have a 'neutral' policy towards it.So does ignorance. Ostensibly, that's why we have schools. Schools don't take a 'neutral' position on that.

People can be racists, bigots or homophobes in our society. When they ACT on those beliefs, however, society can't be neutral.

"Always herding people in groups..."

As opposed to open-minded, free-thinking people such as you, who divide people based on union membership, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.Hell, you just "herded people into groups" with your statement, "Being black, you know how much free shit I can get that your white ass cannot?".

jww
jww

You tell em' Kirk...I mean, this whole problem goes away once these stupid kids finally decide to not be gay.  Shit...bullying is second only to prayer when it comes to de-queerin' the queers.  Everybody knows that!  What these kids really need is more bullying.  And if you couple that with a policy that formally forces teachers to not give a shit, well Christ, that sounds like a recipe for perfection.  And so what if a couple kids kill themselves...you can't actually proooove that their suicides were a direct result of a policy that doesn't allow teachers to educate children about unimportant life-skills like tolerance and compassion.  Convert em' or kill em'.. that what I've always said.  It worked for Columbus and he's a fucking hero!  You got it right this time, Kirk.  I'm with you.  I gotta run, though.  There's an old black woman who needs to be fired, a church that needs to be burned, and some children who haven't put in enough over-time this week.  These Korans won't write themselves.

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