Let me make one thing crystal clear, I believe bullying is wrong. It doesn’t matter who is getting picked on or the reason for it, it’s wrong. Period. End of story. It has been said that the only thing that is equired for evil to prevail is the indifference of good men. An entire school district stood by, some bound by the fear of job loss in this awful economy, some by religious conviction, as children crumpled under the weight of the vitriol they suffered every day from their fellow students while their teachers and people who these children were supposed to be able to go to for help stood by and did nothing. I lay blame squarely at the feet of Barb Anderson, the main author of a school district policy which became known as “No Homo Promo”. From this, the Minnesota school district invoked a policy of neutrality which seem to forbid any mention of homosexuality at all within the schools. This policy put many teachers between a rock and hard place, because if they violated the policy they would find themselves out of work. So, out of fear they remained silent, and children desperate to escape their tormentors committed suicide. Some people reading this may ask where were the parents? Why did they not force the school district to change the policy? The answer is that the parents didn’t know. The parents weren’t informed of the policy at all and only fount out about it after the deaths started. In a school were racial slurs weren’t tolerated, kids who identified as LGBTQ were subjected to bullying every day without help from the adults they should have been able to ask help from.
The policy has since been repealed but it is too little to late for many families. So I leave you with the closing lines of Romeo and Juliet. “A glooming peace this morning with it brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head; Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things; Some shall be pardoned, and some punished; For never was a story of more woe Then this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
- Anoka-Hennepin School District Lashes Out at ‘Rolling Stone’ for Article Profiling Gay Teen Suicides (towleroad.com)
- Minn. school board ends policy blamed for bullying (cbsnews.com)
- One Town’s War on Gay Teens (rollingstone.com)