Anoka-Hennepin drops controversial ‘neutrality policy’

From reporter Tom Weber:

By a 5-1 margin, the Anoka-Hennepin school board voted Monday night to revoke its so-called ‘neutrality policy,’ which required teachers to remain neutral when issues of sexual orientation come up in the classroom.

And while district leaders say their move was not related to legal action, getting rid of the neutrality policy was a major demand in two pending federal lawsuits. In July, two national civil rights groups sued on behalf of several students. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center claim the students were harassed for their sexual orientation, and a key demand of the suit was that the policy be repealed.

Monday night’s almost unanimous vote accomplished just that. In its place, the board approved what’s called the “respectful learning environment" policy. The new language says teachers should not try to persuade students to accept or reject any viewpoint when contentious topics such as sexual orientation come up. It also says staff should affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students.

Read more here.