Anoka-Hennepin district gets earful for gay harassment


By ANDY BIRKEY
Minnesota Independent
Students, teachers and concerned residents of the Anoka-Hennepin School District crowded into the district’s board meeting on Monday evening to vent their concerns after learning that the district paid out $25,000 to a student who says he was continually harassed by two district teachers because they thought he was gay.

While the citizens voiced their frustration with the district, most gave concrete solutions for how the district could improve upon its policies and save face with the community on the issue of anti-gay harassment.

Alex Merritt says he endured taunting and harassment at the hands of his two teachers, Diane Cleveland and Walter Filson, during the 2007 school year, according to a complaint filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The school acknowledged it disciplined the teachers only minimally, stating that laws governing tenure prevent them from doing more. Residents of the district say it’s not enough.

Peter Gokey, who teaches at a school in the district, said last night, “About this being an isolated incident… that isn’t the case.” Full story.

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