Anoka-Hennepin Responds To ‘School of Hate’ Article

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota school district criticized in a Rolling Stone article responded Monday.

Last week’s Rolling Stone featured an article called “School of Hate: One Town’s War on Gay Teens.” It’s about the suicides of gay teenagers in the Anoka-Hennepin School District. The article blames those suicides, in part, on a district policy that says teachers should remain neutral on controversial issues, including homosexuality.

In response, the district said the article “presents a grossly distorted portrayal of the Anoka-Hennepin School District, its schools, and its communities.”

The statement also points out that two teenagers mentioned in the article aren’t even from Minnesota. (Click here to view the district’s statement.)

The district will vote next week on a new policy.

  • Kilgore

    The chickens have come home to roost. At least the Anoka-Hennepin school board has realized what a bone-head move the so-called “neutrality” policy was.

    • Elizabeth Troester


      • Tom

        The truth hurts! But the school staff is not only ones to blame here, the blame also rests with the parents! It is easy to sit there and say bullying is not that big of a deal if it is NOT your child being bullied! And we know the kids who are doing the bullying do it to kids who they don’t consider normal! Well someone should tell these students there is no such thing as NORMAL!

  • Steve

    40 seconds on local suicide contagion making national news and over 4 minutes on Dog Food. No more WCCO for me.

    • tan pup

      That’s because CCO caters to the old people who “don’t want to hear about it”. Can’t sell Polygrip and cremation services when they have a stories about anyone or anything that doesn’t pertain to the “greatest (worthless) generation”

  • mojo

    The bullies are not the school district – its the agenda that is taking over america. God help us…we have become frogs in water slowly warming to a boil.ribbit

    • Elizabeth Troester

      You’re right. But to go along with that agenda is just as bad. Resist and do what one knows in their heart is right. That policy was wrong and the revised policy is not going to be much better.

  • Really Now?

    Since when did anyone read Rolling Stone magazine, maybe the occasional college student worrying about there hipness rating with their dorm buddies. These readers really don’t matter in the grownup world. Let them say what they want no one is listening to them. R.S. has no real world cred. in the real world of public policy making. Hey CCO you don’t improve your’s by referencing R.S. either!
    (I feel sorry for these reports that work here if this is what their editors make them report. Its got to be hurting their credibility and careers .)

    • tan pup

      In reference to my comments to “Steve”: you have proven my point. Careful Really Now; I hear some cracking in your artries.

  • John

    II didn’t give Rolloing Stone any journalistic credit before and I don’t now. THey only cited one teacher’s comments in a district of thousands of teachers. We have all heard from that one teacher plenty of times and we all know he will say anything to get in the public eye since he is running for MN Senate.

  • Brett

    Since when did rolling stone become the epitome of journalistic excellence?

  • Ugh

    “When we learned that some teachers were confused over whether or not to intervene when witnessing bullying and harassment…”

    The superintendent can “go on record” all s/he wants. THAT statement right there made me so disgusted.


    Whether or not the article was fabricated, Anoka has been a problem district for some time. I hope this spotlight on their backwards mentality helps spur them into the 21st century.

  • Fred

    It is unfortunate that the school district continues its attempt to deflect responsibility rather than accept it. They don’t even understand that they don’t understand.

  • hunnybear18

    If you read the article, the instances of bullying all occurred when there were many students around. Does anybody stand up to bullies anymore? Have all of these kids carrying the signs to the meetings ever gathered together and confronted the single bullies themselves? I still say the best answer is empowerment of the kids to fight back, even if it’s just publicly shaming the bully.

    And as far as the kid who had his privates grabbed by the jock, that was criminal sexual conduct. Did anyone report it?

  • Steve

    “Trash Journalism” G Dog? :) That’s what City officials told ‘CCO to say and that’s what ‘CCO told you to say. I would like to know what the U.S. Department of Justice has to say with it’s investigation or the Southern Poverty Law Center and their claims against the district regarding the Civil Rights abuses. 9 suicides in 2 years in one school district with a formal school policy forbidding discussion of gay people. Deduct from that all you want. The Wall Street Journal also reported on this… but is any of these institutions of any worth? Discussion rather than action is their strategy and it’s worked for decades. Everybody is on board. Even me. It’s brilliant.

    • hunnybear18

      So you think if they have discussions about gay people the bullying will magically stop? Bullying is a power and violence issue. The bullies of today are the domestic violence perpetrators and child abusers of tomorrow. They need to be stopped regardless of their reasons. This is bigger than a gay issue.

  • Bill Clintons Cigar

    Someone needs to fly to the Rolling Stone building ASAP! Track down and locate the editor…and toss MN glitter all over him…….

  • Bill Clintons Cigar

    Right on the money……

  • Tam

    So, if gay people want to stop being bullied they should just shut up and hide themselves. So instead of people being responsible for their own need to torment a certain group of people to feel better about themselves, that group should not put it self in their way.


  • Tam

    If school were a job A-H school district would be classified as a hostile work enviorment. My taxes go to pay for a public school system, why are there religious activities going on?? Why is a “christian” group allowed to come in and give students shirts to wear and allow them to target a specific group?

    You can have all the freedom of religion you want, but not in a publically funded school.

    I love how the adults are teaching their children the family value of hate.

    • Tam

      Hmmm, this straight personn doesn’t share your beliefs in hatred and torment. If you want christian groups to go your kids school pay to send them to a private school. That way they can learn to hate all day and on your dime, not mine.

      • GH

        Well if we aren’t going to have Christian groups in the school then I don’t want gay groups in the school either. I don’t want my child learning lifestyle choices from a liberal teacher. I send my child to school to learn math, reading, and science (you know normal school stuff). It’s not the schools place to talk about being gay or straight. Why is sexual orientation even being discussed in school? This is ridicules!

        • Tam

          The problem is that it is not being discussed, that is why children are feeling so bad about themselves that it is easier to tie a something around their neck and suffocate to death than go to school.

          Is that what you want your child to learn?

          No christian doctrine that I know of has it written down that if you are gay you should kill yourself.

          • GH

            I just don’t see why it has to be shoved in our children’s faces. Should they talk about what it means to be straight also? If gays want to be treated like everyone, then should stop parading around their sexual choices. I don’t see any straight pride parades going on…why is that?
            What you do in your bedroom is between you and whatever you decide to believe in, but I don’t want my child knowing about it. It’s pretty plain and simple.

            • MN Atheist

              @GH…Better home school them then.

              Like it or not there are people out there with different beliefs and lifestyles. There are christians, muslims, jews, atheists, etc. There are hetero students and gay students. We live in a world of many different people from many different backgrounds. Saying you don’t want your child to “know about” gay people is pretty extreme. It is not like anyone is asking that there be a graduation requirement that you take Gay 101. I think the school was trying to take a neutral approach as to the students but took it too far by not letting the teachers step in and stop the bigotry. If a christian group was being attacked the teacher should step in, same with any other group. They don’t need to take sides, but just stop the bullying. We are who we are, nothing can change that. I am straight. I will never be gay. Same as you. But we can shift from hate to tolerance. No gay person is asking you for a hug. What they want is tolerance and equality. Nothing more…

            • Tam

              The problem with that policy is that to protect your child from the real world and what happens in it you want them in a bubble where they only hear and learn a few select things you deem should shape their world.

              Homeschool them, that is the only way to bubble your child without forcing your bubble on the rest of us.

              If straight people were being tormented to death there would be straight pride parades too.

              All gay, or any minority for that matter, want taught is tolerance and that they are not free to be bullied and discriminated against.

              Are you against tolerance? Children need to know about this stuff as children, so they can live long enough to become an adult and do whatever they want in the privacy of their own home as you say. If they never get to grow up how can that happen.

              • GH

                I think it should be taught that everyone one is different and that nobody has the right to decide for others what is right or wrong. That being said, I don’t want my child learning the details of what it means to be gay. Why do people think that it’s the teachers right to teach this stuff? As a parent, I want to know exactly what is being taught and I don’t know of any schools that send home their yearly schedule for parents to view.
                It’s never right to bully or harm someone for their beliefs, even if you don’t agree with them. I just don’t want my child learning about Bobby and Tommy being lovers and what all that entails.

            • Michael

              You seem to have an unhealthy and inordinate obsession with gay sex. Why is that? Hmm… it’s pretty plain and simple.

        • Michael

          1) The Equal Access Act requires schools to provide equal treatment to both religion-based clubs as well as gay-straight alliances. Quit believing every lie you read in an email.

          2) You can always shut up and homeschool.

    • hunnybear18

      If you read the article that’s where the neutrality policy came from, stopping that group. It seems like it ended up backfiring. They need to take a stand against any and all bullying, for whatever reason, real or perceived.

  • Davida

    How in the world do you people live with yourselves!?!?! Teenage kids are dying! Gay, straght, black, white, adopted, jock, musician – NO ONE deserves to be bullied or tormented. School must protect these students, and punish bullies. The school must listen to the children and what is happening. Action must be taken.

    I am absoluetly sick to my stomach to think I live here knowing this happens. These are people’s civil liberties, whomever you are, you have the right to not live in fear.

    Those of you who are judging and bullying, God will punish you at your judgement day.

  • Steve

    “Trash Journalism” G Dog? :) That’s what City officials told ‘CCO to say and that’s what ‘CCO told you to say. I would like to know what the U.S. Department of Justice has to say with it’s investigation or the Southern Poverty Law Center and their claims against the district regarding Civil Rights abuses. 9 suicides in 2 years in one school district with a formal school policy forbidding discussion of gay people. Deduct from that all you want. The Wall Street Journal also reported on this… but is any of these institutions of any worth? Discussion rather than action is their strategy and it’s worked for decades. Everybody is on board. Even me. It’s brilliant.

  • Tam

    Love all the “christian values” people are spouting.

    Kathy, we all started as immigrants, except for a tiny of group that we tormented and tortured and like to forget were here first.

  • Tam

    IF there really is a god, I don’t think he would appreciate what you are doing in his name.

    • adorno45

      It’s the problem of free will, not God.

  • Kendall

    I believe some of these kids weren’t even gay but looked different so the bullies implied they were gay and tormented the hell out of these kids. They had no escape in the daily mental abuse. The complaints fell on deaf ears. So in my opinion the school is just as responsible as the bullies. So the old saying of silence is acceptance is how it all got out of control. The bullies got away with pretty much murder or assisted suicide. As a parent, you can be involved with your kids, try to find out what is going on in their lives, but God only knows what is happening at school. You can’t go to school with them. God bless these poor tortured souls.

    • Kendall

      You don’t think these kids were tortured? Oh that’s right, I forgot sticking a pistol in your mouth was for fun. I thought we were talking about these kids killing themselves, not Africa. They have their own tortures. So tough guy, go find an article that relates to. And on a side note, are you helping the kids in Africa? Because smart***, I do!!!! And I can still feel for others!!! Now go back to your hateful life.

  • Stands with a school

    Your a waste of time!

  • Tyclehal

    cheap cheap prada bags at my estore

  • bones

    this makes me so

    why cant we just let people be happy
    why do we have to ruin their lives over something as inconsequential as sexual preference

  • RealJ

    Point #1, don’t let others determine your self image whether you’re tall, short, skinny, fat, gay, straight, athletic or not, focus on trying to be the best person you can be. Point#2, the article, while perhaps written with the best intentions, was one of poorest examples of journalism I’ve ever read and any magazine that values integrity in their printed word should fire her on the spot. It’s just sad that an issue so important would be brought to people’s attention by such an inaccurate article and such a poor journalist.

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