Over the last two years, six students in the Anoka-Hennepin County Schoool District committed suicide, it is believed, after being bullied or harassed for their gender orientation. This is the largest school district in the state of Minnesota. Up to this point, the district has had a strange kind of “don’t ask don’t tell” policy regarding gender orientation. According to this policy, if a student walks into a councilor’s or trusted teacher’s office with concerns about his or her gender-identity related situation … e.g., the student is being bullied in the teacher’s class … the teacher is required to pretend that they know nothing about gender identity and to say nothing and do nothing. Or, to be more precise, the staff or faculty member is requires to “remain neutral” in the matter. It is against policy to be sympathetic, to emphatic, to express concern or, in short, to stand up for the student.
The new policy allows staff and faculty to get more involved in the issue but does not allow staff or faculty to express their own personal opinions or beliefs in the matter.
The old policy sucked, and the new policy probably does too.
“I’m glad to see we’re looking at changes. I think that’s a wise choice,” said Blaha, who first saw the proposal Wednesday evening.
Blaha said the current policy was causing confusion for teachers.
“If you ask five different teachers what the policy means, you get five different answers,” she said.
Tammy Aaberg of Champlin, whose 15-year-old son Justin killed himself last year after enduring anti-gay bullying, said at first glance the proposed change “sounds worse than neutral.”
“That wording makes it sound even more demeaning, I guess, being that you’re controversial,” said Aaberg, who is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Who you are, who you are born to be — why should that be controversial?”
One of the reasons this policy is being looked at is that the gender-issues related suicide rate has brought the attention of federal investigators. The suicides are likely linked with hate crimes, or at least, very severe bullying on the verge of hate crime status.
The school board is also looking at changes in bullying related policy.
source Do go look at the comments on that article. Might be a good idea to chime in.