A slew of conservative Christian parents — and even an orthodox rabbi — implored the Anoka-Hennepin School District to purge schools of any mention of homosexuality and demanded that teachers teach about the “ex-homosexual” movement and “gay-related immune deficiency.” One district member even assailed Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign as vulgar and accused the popular columnist of teaching children about “three-ways.” Several people testified using little more than verses from the Bible that are often used to demean and degrade the LGBT community.
The controversy in the district is over the sexual orientation curriculum policy also called the “neutrality policy” which says that LGBT issues are not to be discussed in the district’s schools. Six students are suing to eliminate the policy on the grounds that it makes for a hostile school environment and the district announced last month that they are considering scrapping the policy and replacing it with one that deals with “controversial topics” but doesn’t single out LGBT students and issues.
But the Parents Action League, a group of conservative Christians, want the policy to remain.
Brian Lindquist and Mike Skaalerud presented a resolution and list of demands that the Parents Action League wants to the school board to fulfill including incorporating “ex-gay” therapy into the school resources.
Here’s the full resolution as recited by Lindquist and Skaalerud:
Whereas Anoka Hennepin District 11 has devoted a special section on their website to GLBT issues, training and awareness.
And whereas the theme of school safety is being used as a pretext to advance a much broader agenda, the legitimization of homosexuality and related conduct to impressionable school children
And whereas the Anoka Hennepin school board is considering removing the protective sexual orientation curriculum policy, an action that undermines the academic focus of this district and open the door to pro-homosexual and related conduct materials in the school curriculum thereby exposing students to concepts hostile to there religious faith and/or moral conviction
And whereas school officials would be liable for violating parental rights by subjecting a child to homosexual and related conduct indoctrination
And whereas the Supreme Court in Meyer v Nebraska has held that parents’ right to direct the moral upbringing and education of their children is one of the most fundamental of all rights and a failure to abide by parental rights can result in liability for damages both the the school district
Whereas schools may face liability for intentional and negligent instruction of students who rely upon false and misleading information about sexual conduct and are subsequently harmed.
Whereas as superintendent Dennis Carlson and prevention coordinator Barry Scanlon went on a listening tour visiting the nine GSA clubs in the district January thru May of 2011 and have not conducted a listening tour with students of faith, moral conviction, ex-homosexuals and ex-transgenders
And whereas district 11 has ordered copies of pro-homosexual video “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Living a Life Worth Living,” edited by Dan Savage for secondary media centers
And whereas legal liability exists for the tort of negligence if it is proved that homosexual activists and organizations were granted access to students under responsibility and that students suffered physical or mental harm.
Therefore be it resolved the Parents Action League in Anoka Hennepin School District 11 demands the following ten actions be taken by our shcool board.
1. A new division within the student support services and a special section on the District 11 website devoted to student of fiath, moral conviction, ex-homosexuals and ex-transgenders.
2. A listening tour by Superintendent Denny Carlson and district prevention coordinator Barry Scanlon with students of faith, moral conviction, ex-homosexuals, and ex-transgenders.
3. That District 11 administrators and staff work closely with pro-family and ex-homosexual and ex-transgender organizations to provide ongoing training to school counselors, school nurses, social workers, school psychologists, prevention specialists, student learning advocates and a number of secondary principals and principals.
4. Provide professional development opportunities in which philosophical, pedogogical, and political assumptions of GLBT advocacy are critically examined.
5. Provide webinars, seminars for all staff on over-coming sexual disorders
6. Provide training on bullying and suicide that protects all students.
7. Provide the history of gay-related immune deficiencies and acquired immune deficiencies and the medical consequences of homosexual acts.
8. That all health classes that address homosexuality be required to provide up-to-date information from the CDC on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV among the groups the CDC designates as men who have sex with men.
9. Provide the following pro-family, ex-homosexual, ex-transgender information and websites to all counselors, school psychologists
classroom teachers [the list was submitted to the board and not spoken at the meeting]
10. Provide pro-family, ex-homosexual and ex-transgender videos to secondary media centers.
PAL invokes Meyer v Nebraska as a possible cause of legal action if the policy banning sexual orientation discussions is repealed. But that case was actually about the State of Nebraska enacting a law that prevented the teaching of German during World War I.
The “neutrality policy” prevents certain learning from happening in the classroom and LGBT and allied parents face a similar situation that German-speaking immigrants faced in the early 1900s.
The Home School Legal Defense Network, a very conservative and somewhat anti-LGBT group, explained the case this way:
In Meyer v. Nebraska,1 the Court invalidated a state law which prohibited foreign language instruction for school children because the law did not “promote” education but rather “arbitrarily and unreasonably” interfered with “the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life…” 2 The court chastened the legislature for attempting “materially to interfere” with the power of parents to control the education of their own.” 3 This decision clearly affirmed that the Constitution protects the preferences of the parent in education over those of the State. In the same decision, the Supreme Court also recognized that the right of the parents to delegate their authority to a teacher in order to instruct their children was protected within the liberty of the Fourteenth Amendment. 4
PAL also uses the term Gay Related Immune Deficiency or GRID. That was the initial name given to AIDS when it was still only a cluster of gay men. It hasn’t been used since 1984 — aside from those in the religious right who have a limited knowledge of epidemiology and biology who use it as a derogatory remark about gay men and HIV.
The Parents Action League has been behind much of the anti-LGBT activity in the district and have been advocating “ex-gay” therapy since it’s founding in 2009.
Barb Anderson has been the spokesperson for the group. She’s also a researcher for the Minnesota Family Council and has accused LGBT advocacy groups of being responsible for bullying and suicides in the district.
At Monday night’s board meeting, she accused the LGBT community of indoctrinating the students of the district.
“On Dec. 25th, on the front page of the Star Tribune, the pro-homosexual media once again held up the St. Paul school district as an example of how the districts should deal with GLBT issues. In St. Paul, the fear of the gay agenda coming into the schools is now a thing of the past. Well, that’s exactly right. There’s no reason to fear it coming in because its so entrenched in their schools that parents have given up all hope of getting it out.”
She said that the “gay agenda” was trying to force Christians into the closet.
She quoted Steve Warren who she called a leader in ACT-UP claiming that his “gay manifesto” from 1987 was the rallying cry for the community. What she didn’t note was the Warren’s article, written under the pseudonym Michael Swift, was satire.
Anderson also quoted Chai Feldblum, a commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunities Office.
“She sees the battle between religious freedom and gay rights as she put it as a zero sum game in which homosexuals will win and Christians will lose,” Anderson said, paraphrasing Feldblum’s remarks.
But that’s not what Feldblum said. Here’s the full quote:
Thus, for all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making the decision in this zero sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.
Anderson continued, “Indoctrinating students through a pro-homosexual K-12 curriculum is how they intend accomplish this goal. I ask you to keep our schools safe for all kids and hold to your promise to keep the sexual orientation curriculum policy.”
Barb’s husband, George Anderson, also testified at the school board meeting. He said that Dan Savage and his It Gets Better campaign to tell young LGBT people not to commit suicide should be removed from the district’s media resources.
“I heard of an activist named of Dan Savage in connection with our district and that he has very rough language on the internet and an intolerant attitude and so I went on the internet to look up one of his Youtube videos and it was amazing to see where we find ourselves in America these days,” he said. “It was really pretty disgusting and I saw also on our school’s website the district has purchased video copies of the It Gets better campaign by Dan Savage for all the secondary media centers.”
He continued, “But what’s this I find in our schools as a potential role model? Dan Savage is a militant homosexual activist he seeks to end bullying by affirming and normalizing homosexuality. His method is to use shockingly obscene anti-christian hate rhetoric”
And Anderson was concerned that Savage ” has a partner Terry and they have adopted a boy and they talk about three-way sex.”
“He’s a man whose It Gets Better project you have brought into our schools. To say I don’t trust his advice on much of anything is an understatement. Is this the role model you want for our youth or counsel for our instructors. Who is responsible for it and what are you going to do?
Apostle Anatha of Minneapolis quoted from the Bible. “I’m going to read from our creator’s writing, this is not my opinion, its something he said.” Anantha read from Romans 1:24:
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Dr. John Look also quoted from the Bible. “Other children who are not gay have the right to be protected against confused indoctrination that contradicts what they have learned form god’s word,” said Look.
He then read Matthew 18:6: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Rabbi Chaim Goldberger of St. Louis Park said, “I have chosen to come here tonight to share Judaism’s view on homosexuality
He said that God “expressly forbids the practice of common gender relations.”
He accused to the school board of capitulating on the neutrality policy. “What is compelling you is the fact that you are being bullied by a powerful movement,” the LGBT movement he said.
The Rev. Walt McFadden of Cityview Church in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis complained that the Minneapolis school district was indoctrinating his son with the homosexual agenda.
“On one particular day with out any warning he was in an English class and the GLSEN group came in and asked the students based on their opinions whether they agreed with the statement or not to stand on one side of the classroom or the other,” he said. “The question was asked do you support or believe that homosexuality is okay. he was the only one in his class and i am proud of him to stand on the other side of the class opposing it.”
He said his son would get beat up if his fellow students found out that he “opposed homosexuality.”
“The world of tolerance is land of make believe where definitions are changed to fit, and all views are tolerated but
only those who agree,” he added.
Bill Fields said that the school district has to “deal with continual onslaught by various groups as to how we are to educate our children.”
“There’s an effort it seems to almost brainwash our children by promoting a certain atmosphere of so-called tolerance.”
Tiffany Strabala blasted the Anoka Hennepin teachers union head Julie Blaha for saying that students are not “controversial issues” and that identities should not the subject of policies like the neutrality policy.
“The idea that same-sex attraction and volitional same sex acts constitute an identity that should be valued is a subjective and arguable belief it is not a fact,” said Strabala. “It is an outrage to me that a govt employee paid for by the taxes of people who don’t share her moral propositions believes that she has a right in her professional role to express her opinions about identity.”
Strabala also accused progressives of persecuting those who believe that being LGBT is harmful.
“Will Miss Blaha argue, as most progressives do, that expressing the belief that volitional homosexual acts are not moral and makes kids unsafe, must be prohibited.
Liberal teachers want to affirm homosexual students in their identity but don’t feel a similar desire to affirm the religious identity of students from conservative faith traditions.”
She also called public school libraries “laughable” because they do not include books “written by conservative scholars on the topic of homosexuality.”