Anoka-Hennepin changes course

The district famous for harassment of gay students is slowly waking up.

Editorial board

Schools in the Anoka-Hennepin area went through a recent tragic period in which several students were bullied to the point of suicide. Initially, Superintendent Dennis Carlson completely mishandled the matter and dismissed the very serious bullying that was taking place in his schools.

Carlson’s 2010 message to families stated that bullying and harassment had nothing to do with the suicides. The ignorance and denial of this statement left grieving families even more upset. Now, Carlson has addressed the painful issue once again with an apology. This time around Carlson must take the matter seriously and take real action against the harassment going on.

Carlson has apologized to families and admitted, “There can be no doubt that in many situations bullying is one of the contributing factors” to the suicides. This is a step forward when it comes to taking action against the problem, but this response is long overdue.

Anoka-Hennepin is also faced with a lawsuit from six students that did not receive adequate help from the school when other students harassed them based on their sexual orientation. Along with the lawsuit, there is a federal civil rights investigation going on because of issue.

The lawsuit and investigation are serious matters, and hopefully they are a reality check to the superintendent and all of the Anoka-Hennepin schools.

The district threw out the Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy, which was upsetting to many families and instead put in place the Respectful Learning Environment Curriculum Policy.

After years of heartache and out of control harassment, Carlson must acknowledge the problem more seriously and actively help all students.