4 of 6 on Anoka school board back new policy on sexual orientation
Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA , Star Tribune
The Anoka Hennepin school district has been highlighted in recent years due to a string of incidents surrounding bullying and sexual harassment. At the center of the controversy is their policy stating that GLBT issues were to remain a family and church concern, not to be discussed in the classroom. Many teachers in the district reported that they felt the policy was an effective gag, preventing them from stepping in during bullying and educating about respect.
As the community works toward improving their policy, interest groups on both sides are seeking change. Marci Anderson, of the Parents Action League represents a group seeking to explicity keep all discussion of GLBT issues out of their schools. In contrast, right groups and advocates are pleased with the new verbiage, which seeks a general statement of respect, and rather than prohibiting behaviors, uses positive language about what conduct is expected from all community members. 4 of the 6 school board members are in support of the latest proposal.
The prevalence of the controversy locally influences the moderate nature of the Star Tribune's discussion. Identifying the new policy positively in its neutrality. The angle successfully incorporates a positive view of the policy, regardless of one's own political and social views. They explicity identify that teachers are not to enter the conversations with a goal of pursuasion toward any one viewpoint, and that content needs to remain age-appropriate. These are logical arguments that also acknowledge the context of the issue successfully.
When presenting the opposing side, the Parent Advocacy Committee used emotional connections to draw readers in to their side. They discuss the importance of church and family values in shaping youth. However, they fail to acknowledge that some students may not have those opportunities, or may not have positive role models at all. As such, there is one gap in their methods of teaching respect. The clear perspective of the article by the end is that the proposed policy to teach respect for all is a good idea.
Summary by Courtney Baga