Anoka-Hennepin school district sexual policy advances

February 7, 2012 No Comments

Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA , Star Tribune

The Anoka-Hennepin teachers’ union has given a qualified blessing to the district’s proposed replacement for its controversial Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy.

On Monday afternoon, members of the union’s governing body, representing all of the district’s 65 sites, voted to endorse the Respectful Learning Environment Curriculum Policy. The policy is set to go to a school board vote Feb. 13.

“People said this seems to reflect what we know works for our students,” said union president Julie Blaha. “We do appreciate that the board took our suggestions seriously and we see a lot of them in here.”

The draft is the second to go before the board in recent months. The Controversial Topics Curriculum Policy, introduced in December, was scrapped last month amid widespread opposition.

The newest draft codifies an expectation that educators do not attempt to persuade students to adopt or reject a certain stance on political, religious, social or economic issues. It would replace one that requires staff to remain neutral on issues of sexual orientation. Teachers have said the current rule, commonly called the neutrality policy, left many unclear how they should interact with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. It also is at the center of a lawsuit filed against the district last summer on behalf of six current and former students who said the district did not adequately respond to their reports of persistent bullying based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

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