Stop Anti-Gay Bullying in Anoka-Hennepin, MN
  • Petitioned Tom Heidemann

This petition was delivered to:

School Board Member
Tom Heidemann
Director of Student Services
Dr. Mary Fonken-Holden
Anoka-Hennepin School District Superintendent
Dennis Carlson
Assistant Superintendent
Dr. Michelle Lanenfeld
Board of Education Commissioner
Dr. Brenda Cassellius
School Board Member
Scott Wenzel

Stop Anti-Gay Bullying in Anoka-Hennepin, MN

    1. Justin Anderson
    2. Petition by

      Justin Anderson

      Blaine, MN

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) have demanded that Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District take immediate action to stop the bullying of LGBT students by dropping its so-called “neutrality” policy.

Since November 2009, at least four LGBT students in the District have died by suicide.  And an ongoing investigation by SPLC and NCLR has found a pervasive atmosphere of anti-gay hostility in Anoka-Hennepin schools. Many students have been pushed out of school or experienced emotional and physical trauma as a result of constant bullying. In one incident, a teenage student was violently assaulted and called "faggot" as a teacher and students stood by. He later dropped out of school.

So far the District is standing behind its policy. It seems it would rather waste time and money defending an unconstitutional policy that puts LGBT students at risk than create a safer environment for all of its students. SPLC and NCLR will file suit if the District does not act immediately to repeal the “gag” policy and enact effective anti-bullying policies, including training for students and teachers to prevent anti-LGBT bullying from happening in the first place.

Tell the District to do the right thing today: drop the “gag” policy and protect the rights of all LGBT students. 

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 15,000 signatures
    2. Mother Jones: The Teen Suicide Epidemic in Michelle Bachman's District

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Mother Jones has a compelling story about the tragic connection between Michelle Bachman and Justin Aaberg, the Anoka-Hennepin teen who killed himself last year after being bullied.

    3. Blog Post: GLSEN Executive Director criticizes Anoka-Hennepin policy

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Organizer Shannon Cuttle has news from an interview with the head of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education network about the damages a "neutrality" policy like Anoka-Hennepin's can cause.

    4. Anoka-Hennepin School District Sued

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The SPLC and NCLR are suing the Anoka-Hennepin School District over the district's "gag rule," which prevents faculty from discussing sexual orientation in the classroom.

    5. Anoka-Hennepin School District Faces Bullying Probe

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Media reports: Federal officials are investigating allegations of student bullying based on sexual orientation in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

    6. Petition signed by 12,000 presented to District 11 School Board

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      ABC Newspapers reports that the Anoka-Hennepin School Board Chairman is doggedly defending the anti-gay "gag rule" in place, despite work by the SPLC, NCLR and a 12,000+ petition on

    7. Minnesota School Board Still Mum About Anti-Gay "Gag" Rule

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      On Monday night, a bullied former student and the mother of a suicide victim asked the largest school district in Minnesota to create a safer environment for students of all sexual orientations. With them in spirit were the more than 12,000...

    8. Video from last night's School Board meeting

      Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Here's video from last night's school board meeting where a gay former Anoka-Hennepin student, Justin Anderson, and Tammy Aaberg, the mother of a suicide victim, presented this petition to the School board. Click on #5 (Communications), Minute 1:45.

    9. Mother of bullied gay teen delivered petition against policy

      Joe Mirabella
      Petition Organizer

      A gay former student and the mother of a teen who committed suicide last year delivered on Monday more than 12,000 signatures from this petition to the Anoka-Hennepin School Board.

    10. Justin Anderson delivered 12,000 signatures to ed board tonight!

      Eden James
      Petition Organizer

      "Petitions bearing thousands of signatures opposed to the Anoka-Hennepin school district's 'neutral' policy toward gay and lesbian student issues were presented to the district board of education Monday."Congrats to Justin and the student organizers!

    11. Reached 12,500 signatures
    12. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Anoka-Hennepin officials met with the SPLC/NCLR yesterday, and talks will continue.

    13. Reached 10 signatures
    14. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      From the Minnesota Post: "It might take a court order to give LGBT kids the support they need in Anoka-Hennepin."

    15. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Minnesota Public Radio does a great (but heart-breaking) story about how the "gag" rule can stop teachers from supporting LGBT students

    16. Reached 9 signatures
    17. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Anoka-Hennepin's superintendent responds to calls to remove the policy, denies that the "gag" rule increases bullying:

    18. Reached 7 signatures
    19. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Baiba Olinger, 33-year veteran teacher at Anoka-Hennepin, signed the petition and writes: "I feel we have gone backwards in our policy towards LGBT students. How can "being neutral" work? Can I be "neutral" on someone being female or black? It is time to change this policy."

    20. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      The Pioneer Press does a great story on the lesbian teen who was part of the first openly gay couple in the district to attend a school-sanctioned event together:

    21. Reached 5 signatures
    22. Carol Scott
      Petition Organizer

      Please Tweet: Tell @AHSchools in MN to drop "gag" policy forbidding teachers from acknowledging LGBT people

    23. Reached 100 signatures


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