The Anoka-Hennepin school district has been notorious for its bullying, anti-gay discrimination, and suicide rate. A group of six students sued them for the district’s outrageous lack of common decency; tonight, the school board folded and settled the suit out of court. There was a cash settlement of $270,000 to the kids, and the district has also agreed to work with the US Justice Department to end their history of tolerance for abuse.
One Republican board member, Kathy Tingelstad, resigned over the settlement, claiming that it was going to cost too much. Where was her concern for the cost to the district when kids were killing themselves and the district was becoming infamous for its war on gay teens? She was just a tool of the anti-gay Parents Action League. Good riddance, and may PAL wither and die.
Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says
I am glad this lawsuit ended this way. However, I don’t feel hopeful for any substantive change from AHSD. The institutionalised hatred of LGBTQ people, and youth in particular, is something that is so deeply entrenched and so endemic that it will take something very different than a rewritten set of policies, some in service training, and the other things that are likely to come out of any sort of attempts here. In other words, they’ll probably engage in a bit of cargo culting and call it done.
What needs to happen is for people to back away from their staunchly held beliefs and start to listen to people, on all sides of this, and for people to think deeply about how they think, speak and act affects others. Yeah, not gonna happen.
Good riddance to the P.A.L. They must be very proud of themselves for the hurt they have caused to many.
These judgments/settlements are always bittersweet because the people who did the harm are not the ones paying, or at least not the only ones paying.
I can’t get too excited about them. I’m glad the right side won but we need a way to actually hold the right people accountable.
Good grief, some of those assholes make my political lords and masters look positively genius level, rational and compassionate. I can’t figure out how party affiliation comes into play in running a fucking school. Unfortunately, some of our parents would be right at home in Anoka schools.
Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says
Yeah, no, I don’t think we actually do need to listen to the homophobes who drive children to suicide.
Guess what! The Parents Action League site has a contact form! I think we should all send them some nice civil messages about their support for the deaths of teenagers.
Akira MacKenzie says
I don’t know… Personally, I would prefer the plaintives stayed the course and dragged these Bible-humping bastards through the civil courts to face personal and professional ruin.
An example must be made of the Christian Right, one that will inform them all–from common parishioner to MegaChurch pastor–what will become of them if they continue to cling to their faith-based hate.
This is the consequence of hatred. I will bet my pro-life stance against any of these fool’s “pro-life” bullshit any day. It may seem a slow uphill road my friends, but I smell a change in the tide.
Jubal DiGriz says
I’m disappointed the school district had to pay what I’m sure is baddy needed money for the settlement. It seems the principles and school boards who do this stuff think they’re uncountable and invincible until it’s too late and the students always seem to bear the brunt of the consequences.
At least, hopefully, the next set of administration in this particular district will know better.
Hope Ms. Tinglestad doesn’t let the door hit her on the way out.
And here’s hoping that people keep up the pressure on the district to follow through with meaningful change.
from news article:
at one time there would not even been a complaint let alone a law suit so I’ll take a settlement as a positive sign.
If nothing else it should put other school districts on notice that certain kinds of shit will be costly so they better sniff if real well before they start throwing it at LGBTQ students.
When will the persecution end?
Will you liberal hate-mongers ever stop before every single upright Christian cowers in hiding?
Can’t a man or woman stand for their beliefs anymore?
Can’t good people even drive kids into suicide without being harassed?
You poopyhead tolerance-mongers.
John Morales says
(That is how one does sarcasm without becoming Poeish)
I don’t know exactly who constitutes legally separate entities or not under US law; but, could the school board (who have now been deprived of money that could and should have been spent on things such as new textbooks, swimming pool heating fuel, starters for classroom lights, cleaning toilets &c.) bring a suit against the individuals who made the lousy decisions that got them sued?
Part of the story is that the insurance company paid out the settlement; Not exactly the school.
Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says
Matt Penfold says
The insurance company seems to be paying for the compensation, but the settlement goes further than just an agreement over money. The school must also employ a consultant to oversea its policy on homosexual harassment, provide training to staff and students and employ a mental health professional to provide counselling. The insurance company is unlikely to be paying for those.
David Marjanović says
I’m with comment 1.
Where I come from, school principals are instituted based on their party affiliation. There are “red schools” and “black schools”, and you can see that from not just the principal but also most teachers.
…No, I don’t recommend this as a model for imitation. This system originated as overcompensation for the civil mini-war of 1934.
(Red: Social Democratic Party of Austria. Black: Austrian People’s Party, conservative, Christian Democratic, conservative, Christian Social, conservative.)
I’m sure that the school district will have to do a much better job of eliminating intolerance if they don’t want their insurance premiums to go into the stratosphere. Personally, I am said that liability never seems to extend to the school board members responsible for the continuation of these dysfunctional policies. It is always somebody else’s money that goes to pay for their rank lack of professionalism.
Does this mean they are actually going to get rid of this environment of bully-sheltering? As a lifelong Minnesotan, I have been sick and furious to read about this. I hope they’re not just throwing money at these kids to buy them off. Money will not bring back the young people who have already died, and it will not heal the scars of the parents who discovered their children’s bodies. There is no way they could pay away the damage that’s already been done, and there are far too many gay people for them to keep paying off the surviving victims.
Second, is this Tingelstad person related to Tim Tingelstad? He’s the guy who keeps running for any MN Supreme Court seat that comes up for election. He’s another one of those Christians that doesn’t believe in the Separation, so I always vote for whomever he runs against. It’s a 99.99% chance that they are less detestable than he is, since his entire platform consists of Bible verses.
Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says
I just finished rereading all the news on this school district, and while I remain, to an extent, emotionally detached from the stories, there’s a rage and a joy within me.
I’m happy these kids have won such an important case, but I can’t help but think that there may not be any real change affected in the long run. This is an area, to my understanding, that is steeped in conservative, evangelical Christianity. Important concessions may have been granted by the school board (or forced upon it by condition of the settlement), but are the bigots really reined in?
It may well be that the people of this school district have seen and have seen enough of what bigotry can do to peopleand to entire communities, but I don’t get the sense that the bigots have backed down. From their comments on various articles, they’re doubling down. I don’t see the resignation of Kathy Tingelstad as a sign or addmitance of defeat, but rather of defiance. I just wonder who that message is intended to target and what the future holds for the bigots in this school district and for the children they seek to abuse.
Markita Lynda says
I hope this puts some people on notice that they can’t get away with religiously inspired hate campaigns any more.
Sweet.. it does get better. Or else we’ll keep suing their asses until it does. Plus we got rid of a winger from the board as well. I love that this puts the rest of the school boards on notice. Their assholism will no longer be tolerated.