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Minnesota Students Prove That ‘It Gets Better’

Minnesota Students Prove That ‘It Gets Better’

Five bullied students from Minnesota who won their challenge against the Anoka-Hennepin School District have a special message: It DOES Get Better.

Earlier this month, an agreement was reached to resolve two federal gender and sexual orientation harassment lawsuits brought against Anoka-Hennepin by six students. The agreement includes significant new protections designed to prevent harassment of students who are or perceived to be LGBT and gender non-conforming, as well as those who have friends or parents who are LGBT.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which sued on behalf of students, reports that under the decree, the students will receive a total of $270,000 in damages.

The district’s 18-year-old gag policy on sexual orientation was replaced last month with a policy designed to generate “a respectful learning environment in which teachers facilitate student discussions of contentious topics in a balanced and impartial manner.”

The District has faced national scrutiny because of a wave of teen suicides in the area, many of them at least partly related to bullying.

The Trevor Project, a leading charity on bullying of LGBT students, has described the successful lawsuit as “a historic paradigm shift” that will “create a blueprint for school safety that can be implemented nationwide.”

One of the students in the ‘It Gets Better’ video, Kyle Rooker, who had been called ‘fag’, slapped and urinated on, told local news:

“Basically, they ripped my heart out….I didn’t feel like someone with passion. Now I’ve stolen it back.”

The remaining plaintiff student, Ebonie Richardson, made a separate video.

Watch ‘MN’s Anoka-Hennepin Student Plaintiffs: It Gets Better’:

Related stories:

Student Who Challenged School’s Gay Gag Rule Speaks Out (VIDEO)

Anoka-Hennepin Settles LGBT Bullying Lawsuit, Still Denies Wrongdoing

Sixth Bullied Student Sues Minnesota School District

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28 comments

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12:49PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

There's still a long way to go, and too many adults do not live up to their responsibility to protect children in their care. But it is getting better.

1:49PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Good job kids!

5:52AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Best wishes to them.

5:52AM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Best wishes to them.

12:13PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

?

8:35AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Thanks to these students for providing the role models their schools needed when the adults responsible failed to provide and actively interfered with any being provided!

6:37AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

You kids rock.

6:31AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

good.

4:57AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Long, long overdue.

Congratulations to these brave young people, the future hope of our nation (and the world).

Now all the "good Christians" will have to home-school their future little bigots and bible-beating bunko artists -- or put them into so-called "Christian" schools.

3:07AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

TY

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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