COON RAPIDS, Minn. -- It is an issue that has garnered national attention and plenty of local opinion. Monday night, the Anoka-Hennepin District School Board introduced a new policy for teachers on how to discuss what's been described as 'controversial topics' in the classroom, including homosexuality.
The policy states teachers should not advocate their opinion but rather, if need be, facilitate a discussion, and that the discussion should be appropriate for students.
Opinions were mixed.
"The new policy looks a lot better. It sounds a lot more inclusive," said student Rachael Hawley who stood with dozens of students at the board meeting.
But not everyone agreed, including parent Rebecca Vahdat. She and others did not believe homosexuality was an appropriate subject matter in school.
"Homosexuality should not be woven into the classroom curriculum," she said.
Currently, the school policy requires staff to remain neutral if sexual orientation is discussed, a policy that came under fire recently when six students committed suicide in the district in less than two years, some of whom were gay.
Tammy Aaberg's son was one of those students who committed suicide. She doesn't think the policy goes far enough. "This policy is better than the previous policy. It says it affirms the dignity of all students, but you can't have that if you can't mention gay people in history," she said.
The president of the Anoka-Hennepin teacher's union, Julie Blaha was glad to see the school board plans to rescind the current policy, but believes a policy is not needed.
Either way, she believes the discussion is moving in a positive direction.
"It seems like they've taken the concerns of the teachers seriously," Blaha told KARE 11.
The board will make the final decision February 13th.
To read the one page proposed policy here.