MN Governor Orders Panel To Squash School Bullying. Wishful Thinking?

When it comes to students getting bullied to death, the Anoka-Hennepin School District is number one in Minnesota. The school’s “neutrality policy” on LGBT issues forbid teachers from speaking out against LGBT bullying, and their seven student suicides over the last two years have made them the focus of a federal investigation and lawsuits.

But Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has had enough of their lethal reputation and recently issued an executive order asking a 15-person bipartisan panel to study they “best practices, existing laws, and reports of bullying in schools” so the state can define bullying and provide recommendations for anti-bullying policy initiatives by next August.

Allowing teachers to openly discuss anti-LGBT bullying in schools would be a good first step. A law explicitly protecting LGBT students would make a great final step, especially if Dayton can provide some cash and training so teachers learn how to effectively handle both bullies and potential suicide victims.

Otherwise, Anoka-Hennepin will go down in history as the one of the deadliest school districts in the nation—an honor no district would want.

Image via Mark Dayton

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  • chuck

    My sister’s family lives and works in the Anoka-Hennepin school district.
    At a family Thanksgiving dinner…the topic of LGBT suicides in the school district
    came up. The family consensus was that the student’s were wimps and if they couldn’t
    take the bullying they might as well kill themselves (less fags to worry about).
    By the way this is also M. Bachmann’s Congressional District. Don’t believe what
    you hear about “Minnesota Nice”. They may not say anything to you as you walk
    by in the Mall…but watch out if you are walking back to your car in a nearly
    dark parking lot. My boyfriend and I were walking back to our car one night, and
    two teenage boys began to throw rocks at us from the other side of the lot and
    calling us fags. Luckily they did not hit us. My boyfriend who had been a state
    champion baseball pitcher was looking for a rock to throw back. I convinced him
    that the local police would quite gladly rough us up and throw us in jail for
    defending ourselves. My nephew is a deputy sheriff for the county and is as bigoted
    as the rest of the force (I was with him at a picnic filled with local cops so I
    know what I am talking about).

  • Robin Mavis

    Chuck I am so sorry to hear about your family’s attitudes about our students taking their own lives. That kind of attitude is what some of our students have been hearing from their classmates and in some cases have experienced bullying by teachers and coaches as well. It is sad that there are families in our district that are actually modeling hate and violence for their children to imitate in school.

    Anoka Hennepin Gay Equity Team and Justin’s Gift are two organizations started by parents and families in the Anoka Hennepin School District that are working to change the climate in this neck of the woods for students and their families that identified or are perceived as LGBT.

    It has been an uphill battle in a district where there is such a large population of hateful people who identify themselves as ‘christians’, but with partnerships with faith organizations who believe that the true Christian way is to disavow hate, and instead to embrace the kind of compassion that Christ had for those that were considered outcasts in his day, we will make a difference.

  • Stefan


    Move to Duluth, or even the Iron Range in general. It’s MUCH more gay friendly (especially in Duluth).

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