Dennis Carlson, superintendent of the Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota, insists he’s been trying to “correct inaccurate statements about students who have committed suicide over the past year.” As in: “Inaccurate statements” about school officials ignoring reports from parents and students about anti-gay bullying, like the kind that led Justin Aaberg to kill himself. The Minnesota school district is supposedly home to a whole swath of suicides, as well as “regular torment” that fortunately didn’t lead some kids to take their own lives. Like Alex Merritt (pictured), a straight student who claimed two of his own instructors targeted him. And now those teachers say the state illegally violated their privacy by outing them as the accused bullies.
Walter Filson yesterday filed a complaint against the state, saying it illegally identified him as the teacher who — and you’ll pardon us for not having much sympathy here — volunteered Merritt to take part in a fashion show in front of the class “because he enjoys wearing women’s clothes” and also intimating Merritt had a “thing for older men.” Filson’s complaint follows that of Diane Cleveland, the second teacher Merritt fingered in his harassment charge filed with the Department of Human Rights; Cleveland successfully sued the department in July for the same thing.
While both teachers were found culpable — at least enough that the Department of Human Rights granted the Merritt family a $25,000 discrimination settlement — their names were never released as part of the case. But then the department identified them both on its website in a “Case Of The Month” feature, triggering their suits.
So what we have here are two teachers suing the state over violating their privacy, when these two teachers were deemed responsible for the torment of children. I’d say hang ’em out to dry, but I guess we already have. And that’s why they’re upset.