Anoka-Hennepin school district ditches new "controversial topics" policy
|The Anoka-Hennepin school board is once again rewording the so-called "no homo promo."|
The Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy currently on the books was going to be renamed the "Controversial Topics Policy," which removed all explicit language about dealing with homosexuality in the classroom. That solution received almost no support from either LGBT rights advocates and conservative parent groups.
Now, the board is cooking up yet another rewording.
The new-new policy only has a name so far: the "Respectful Learning Environment" policy. District officials have not released the exact wording, which will come up for discussion at the January 23 board meeting. The public will be able to read it for the first time and comment at that point.
The original Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy, or "no homo promo," stated that "Anoka-Hennepin staff, in the course of their professional duties, shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation." That policy is the basis of a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center against Anoka-Hennepin, claiming that it creates a discriminatory environment for gay students.
|Ex-gay minister Janet Boynes (left) speaking at a past Anoka-Hennepin school board meeting about the Controversial Topics policy.|
After a string of student suicides, the lawsuit, and a mountain of bad press, the board announced it would be scrapping the neutrality policy and instituting the "controversial topics" wording. The new language states, "The study of controversial topics shall contribute toward helping students develop techniques for examining controversy, be appropriate to maturity and developmental level of students, be of significance related to course content, and presented in an atmosphere free of bias and prejudice."
The reading of the new policy set off another firestorm of controversy. LGBT advocates argued that it labels gay kids "controversial" and would continue to ostracize both homosexual students and teachers. Conservative Christian parents, like those who formed the Parents Action League, argued that taking away the "neutrality" clause would open the door to "homosexual propaganda" that would indoctrinate students. PAL even went so far as to demand that schools offer paths to ex-gay therapy for students, calling homosexuality a "sexual disorder."
We'll update as soon as the "Respectful Learning Environment" policy is made public.
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