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Anoka-Hennepin Adopts New Respectful Learning Environment Policy

OutFront Minnesota | February 13, 2012

In a 5-1 vote Monday night, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board eliminated the notorious Sexual Orientation Curriculum "neutrality" Policy and replaced it with a policy a new Respectful Learning Environment policy.

While some have legitimately asked whether this policy will change much, the fact is that policies matter. They reflect priorities and values, they send messages of inclusion... or the opposite.

Three years ago the Anoka-Hennepin district had a policy specifically stating that homosexuality is not a "valid or normal lifestyle." In marked contrast, the current proposal directs that "district staff shall affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students," regardless of, among other things, sexual orientation and gender. For the first time in 17 years Minnesota's largest district will not have a policy designed to stigmatize its LGBT students.

Organizing works. Every win belongs to every member and we can't do it without you. If you haven't already done so, please become a member of OutFront Minnesota today and support our work to make every Minnesota school safe for all students.

School districts across the state can and should do better. Every year OutFront Minnesota and the Minnesota School Outreach Coalition train students from around the state to organize effectively in their schools to improve the climate for LGBT youth. This year many of the trainings at our Lobby Day of Action with Minnesotans United for All Families will focus on how to build power and organize in your own community. Will you join us?

We would like to recognize the Gay Equity Team and all the local activists and OutFront Minnesota members who made this happen. OutFront Minnesota, and others, will carefully watch the implementation of this new policy to see the information and training the district provides its staff as they implement this policy.

In the meantime, we want to thank the Anoka-Hennepin School Board members: John Hoffman, Marci Anderson, Mike Sullivan, Tom Heideman and especially Scott Wenzel who worked hard on this when the prospects seemed most bleak.


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