Student Sues Minn. School District Over Antigay Bullying
August 10 2011 8:45 AM ET
A sixth student targeted by anti-LGBT bullying in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District has sued, claiming that administrators turned a blind eye to the abuse she suffered.
According to a complaint filed Tuesday by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the student, referred to in court documents by the initials “E.R.,” was subjected to “a constant, daily barrage of taunts from other students, who called her names like ‘faggot,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘he/she,’ and ‘it.’”
Five other students had previously filed suit against Anoka-Hennepin on the grounds of equal protection and are represented by NCLR and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The school district has a “neutral” policy on sexual orientation — one that critics have said amounts to a gag policy for teachers and administrators. The policy, NCLR maintains, “prohibits school staff from countering anti-gay stereotypes or presenting basic factual information about LGBT people, even when necessary to address anti-gay hostility within the student body.”
The Anoka-Hennepin School District is currently under investigation by the U.S. departments of Justice and Education for allegations that it has failed to appropriately address antigay bullying. Antigay student harassment within the district is the result of school policies “singling out and denigrating LGBT people,” according to NCLR. “For many years, these policies have deemed LGBT people, and them alone, as unworthy of being mentioned, let alone protected, in District classrooms.”
“The district has to stop turning its back on children, and recognize that its illegal policy that singles out those who are LGBT is the reason that so many children in their schools continue to be tormented — verbally, physically, and emotionally — every day,” NCLR executive director Kate Kendell said in a Tuesday statement.
The sixth student is represented by NLCR as well as a Saint Paul–based law firm.
Read more on the suit here.
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