September 16, 2014

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice forced an anti-bullying consent decree on the Anoka-Hennepin School District, which became the blueprint for Minnesota’s newly passed state Bullying Law. The A-H School District is only slightly ahead of what the 2014 Bullying Law will bring to every Minnesota school. Everyone across the state must be alert to the policies coming their way.

On August 25th, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board heard public testimony on five recommendations from the district’s Anti-Bullying Task Force. The recommendations may be viewed here. No approval to implement them was given at that meeting, but their Leadership Committee was tasked with presenting “actionable items.”

Brenda Look, one well-spoken opponent of resolution 3, pointed out the obvious: this resolution is not about respect, compassion, kindness and tolerance. Rather, it forces allegiance to a strident and dangerous political and social agenda. It is a deviation from protecting all students from genuine bullying.

Recommendation #3 states:

Honor and celebrate the contributions of diverse people and families in our community, country, and world, including the LGBT community.

In an effort to affirm and celebrate the diversity represented by district students, families, and employees, the Task Force recommends Anoka-Hennepin Schools recognize, affirm, and assess specific LGBT activities including, but not limited to, continuing to support student-led Gay Straight Alliance clubs; hosting school-related family nights for our diverse populations, including LGBT families and LGBT students and their parents; and creating public displays honoring LGBT history month each October beginning in 2014.

The entire testimony may be seen by clicking here, beginning at minute 4:00.

First up to testify was Julie Blaha– former President of Minnesota’s National Organization for Women, teacher, past Anoka-Hennepin teachers union president for six years, key activist pushing the Bullying Bill through the Minnesota legislature, and now the teachers union appointee to the Bullying Law’s implementation task force that will establish the “norms and standards” for what the state will mandate on all schools. [The first meeting of that task force was today.] No one should be surprised that Ms Blaha especially supports resolution #3 — because, as she stated, “everyone needs to be recognized.” She should clarify: is it every behavior, every proclivity that should be recognized, honored, affirmed and celebrated?

Another fervent resolution supporter was Melissa Thompson who spoke up fiercely for all those who zealously contend that any student, parent, staff member or duly elected board member who opposes honoring, affirming and celebrating LGBT activities therefore opposes the teaching of kindness and respect, and is guilty of religious bigotry, of violating the Constitution, and is, by very definition, a bully. In other words, when the very act of objecting constitutes bullying, she makes our case. Students, our children, will be subjected to just this kind of vicious accusation for simply expressing or even suggesting they have conscience objections to LGBT activities.

Tiffany Strabala made the obvious point that students are all being recognized already–for their talents and accomplishments, not for their sexual behaviors, and forcing recognition of what many people of many faiths recognize as wrong introduces a new and blatant coercion.

Before the Bullying Bill passed, Child Protection League Action repeatedly advised that the legislation is not about bullying. It is, rather, a thinly-veiled strategy to indoctrinate our children and our community into affirming and celebrating all sexual activities, no matter how morally wrong and unsafe, including activities engaged in by lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and transgenders. OutFront MN has recently officially announced the newest addition to its list of those to be honored–queers. They continue to push the envelope on who and what we must celebrate, honor and affirm, not for their achievements, but for their choice of sexual behavior. (View which House Members voted “Yes” to the Bullying Bill here.)

The September Anoka-Hennepin School Board meeting is scheduled for next Monday, September 22nd, at 6:30 pm. Public testimony (less than 3 minutes) will continue to be taken from concerned citizens regarding the recommendations. School Board contact information, especially for those within the A-H School District, may be found here. The meeting will be at the Sandburg Education Center (1902 Second Avenue in Anoka). If you wish to express your concerns (respectfully, of course) at that board meeting, arrive early to fill out a yellow card.

We will keep you informed. This same debate is headed to all school districts in Minnesota, courtesy of the new Bullying Law.

Child Protection League Action