Thursday, February 12, 2009

Safer Schools in Minnesota

From the Minnesota Independent today:

"For more than a decade, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board [the state's largest school district] had a policy that forbade teachers and students from speaking about homosexuality, except to describe it as abnormal or invalid. But the board Monday approved a more inclusive policy after years of work by community members to make the district more accepting of all students."

It seems shocking that today in many places across the country, teachers are forbidden to even mention homosexuality. Such policies, usually a feature of so-called "abstinence only" sex education, leave lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people alienated and uninformed. It also sends a subtle message to young LGBT people that they are not as equal and valid as their straight peers.

Stephanie Hazen of Rainbow Families agrees: “The implied message to GLBT students, staff, and families was that they are ‘invalid’ or ‘abnormal'... This was an incredibly harmful and discriminatory message to send, and contributed to a school environment in which GLBT students, staff and families felt marginalized.”

Kudos to the Anoka-Hennepin school district for taking a step towards including and education all of its students.! Read more about the story here.

Also be sure to check out PFLAG's new program Safe Schools: Cultivating Respect, full of tips and resources on how to make schools safer and more inclusive in your community!

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