IOWA PRIDE NETWORK APPLAUDS
LANDMARK DECREE BETWEEN U.S. & MINNESOTA’S ANOKA-HENNEPIN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Landmark case makes clear harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes is a violation of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Des Moines, Iowa– March 6 – Iowa Pride Network is applauding the landmark consent decree reached by the U.S Departments of Justice and Education, six private plaintiffs and the Anoka-Hennepin school district to resolve claims of pervasive bullying and harassment of students who did not conform to gender stereotypes in district schools.
Six students sued the Anoka-Hennepin school district last summer for its “neutrality policy”—a policy that singled out lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and, some say, barred teachers from intervening when anti-LGBT bullying occurred in classrooms and hallways. Within the past two years, nine students committed suicide, a number of them having identified as LGBT.
“Today’s settlement sends a clear message—all students deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It also highlights how important it is for Iowa’s school districts to enforce Iowa’s own Safe Schools Law,” stated Ryan Roemerman, Iowa Pride Network Executive Director.
Iowa Pride Network is a statewide nonprofit organization helping make schools and colleges safe for all by empowering students to stop bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and hate. It was one of a handful of organizations that fought to secure Iowa’s Safe Schools Law.
Adopted in 2007, the law defines bullying and harassment and addresses the prevention, reporting, investigation, and consequences of any bullying or harassment incidents, as well as the need for accurate data collection and public reporting of those incidents.
“The tragic events that led to the lawsuits in Anoka-Hennepin are a reminder of why it was so important for Iowa to have passed our law and the continued need for schools to implement it with fidelity,” Roemerman said.
© Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMApress.com
A candlelight vigil in Minneapolis for the victims of gay bullying