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Updated: Anoka-Hennepin Board Tackles 'Respectful Learning Environment' Policy

Columbia Heights, Spring Lake Park school boards meet Tuesday; Fridley on Jan. 27

Updated below. All four boards representing school districts that take in parts of Fridley are meeting this week.

On Monday it's the Anoka-Hennepin School Board, with the latest in a highly contoversial policy debate concerning how the district deals with sexual orientation. An earlier draft policy governing "" has fallen by the wayside. At its Jan. 23 meeting, board members will hear instead about a new "respectful learning environment" proposal.

On Tuesday, both the Columbia Heights and Spring Lake Park school boards meet. See their agendas here () and here ().

The Fridley School Board convenes a special meeting on Friday at the board room. ()

Updated (7:45 p.m. Monday): Tom Weber of Minnesota Public Radio uploaded a copy of the previously unreleased new draft Anoka-Hennepin policy. It reads:

Proposed Policy to be presented Jan. 23
Respectful Learning Environment - Curriculum Policy
DRAFT 1-21-2012

The Board is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment and to providing an education that respect all students and families.

It is the professional responsibility of the teacher to follow the Board-adopted curriculum, which is designed to meet Minnesota state standards.

Political, religious, social, or economic issues may become contentious in a learning environment in who conflicting views are held by a broad segment of people in our schools, our community, and the nation.

It is not the District's role to take positions on these issues. Teachers and educational support staff shall not attempt in the course of their professional duties to persuade students to adopt or reject any particular viewpoint with respect to these issues.

Curricular discussions of such issues shall be appropriate to the maturity and developmental level of students; be of significance to course content; and be presented in an impartial, balanced and objective manner, allowing respectful exchange of varying points of view. Lessons shall be assigned to help students think critically and develop decision-making skills and techniques for examining and understanding differing opinions.

In the course of discussions of such issues, district staff shall affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students, regardless of their race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex/gender, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, age, family care leave status or veteran status.

Updated (noon, Tuesday): In an MPR News story, Weber quoted Anoka-Hennepin board member Scott Wenzel, who represents northwest Fridley, as supporting the new policy even though he questions the need for any policy:

"But I think we have people within our community who need to have a policy, so that they have something they can grab onto and understand what's occurring in our classrooms. ... And also, for either side to see that we are affirming all of our students and we are supporting all of our students. And this policy says that."

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