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Anoka Parents Protest Treatment Of LGBT Students

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ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) – Parents and students packed the Anoka Hennepin School Board meeting Monday tonight to express their concerns about harassment and bullying, especially of LGBT students.

“Things need to change,” said Tammy Aaberg, whose son, Justin, committed suicide last July. Aaberg said her son, who was openly gay, was bullied at school.

“They need to rescind the neutrality policy and get these teachers training,” Aaberg said.

Aaberg joined about 100 other people to protest the district’s refusal to create a safe learning environment for all students.

Among those in attendance were straight allies. Student Mike Thurston spoke out in support of changing the district’s policy. Thurston said he has been bullied at school and thinks the only way to stop it is to change the district’s policy, which does not allow teachers to address sexual orientation.

“So that they don’t get the wrong idea or too scared or not knowing,” Thurston explained. “Hopefully it gets some teacher training to as far as being able to talk to students about this issue.”

The school board would not comment, but it did distribute a three-page letter outlining the steps the district has taken to address the issues of harassment and bullying.

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