Anoka-Hennepin School District Repeals So-Called Neutrality Policy

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP filed a federal lawsuit in July 2011 on behalf of five student plaintiffs against the Anoka-Hennepin School District. NCLR, with local counsel Culberth & Lienemann, LLP, brought a parallel lawsuit on behalf of a sixth student plaintiff. The lawsuits, which are ongoing, challenge the District’s Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy, which has contributed to bullying and harassment of LGBT students, and students perceived as LGBT.

Today is the first day in nearly 18 years that Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District no longer has a harmful policy that singles out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Although we would have preferred for the District to have repealed this stigmatizing policy without replacing it, we are pleased that the new policy expressly requires district staff to affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students, including LGBT students.

The repeal of this policy is an important first step, but the District must do much more to create a safe, welcoming, and respectful learning environment for all students, including LGBT and gender non-conforming students, and those perceived as such.
We are unable to comment further due to ongoing mediation in the pending litigation.