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


Ra Sc
Ra Sc5 years ago

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.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

Good job kids!

David Murray
Eva Daniher5 years ago

Best wishes to them.

David Murray
Eva Daniher5 years ago

Best wishes to them.

Marie Squire
Marie Squire5 years ago


J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

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!

Chris M.
Chris M5 years ago

You kids rock.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson5 years ago


Past Member 5 years ago

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.

Tim C.
Tim C5 years ago