9/22/10 Defining Neutrality in Anoka-Hennepin’s Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy: An Overview for Schools IMPORTANT The Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy relates to curriculum and classroom discussions – it is separate from Anoka-‐Hennepin’s harassment and bullying policies. Staff are not to remain neutral when they see or hear harassment or teasing (including during class) – they are to intervene, stop the harassment, explain that the language/behavior is not tolerated in school and, if necessary, refer the student to the school office. Key provisions in the policy: Discussions in class should be fact-‐based, age-‐appropriate and relevant to the class. Examples of handling instances when GLBT-‐related topics come in class (with a focus on the secondary level) will be provided at a later date, after district officials have sought input from teachers and school administrators. Some examples of what is neutral and what is not The list below contains a few examples, but it is not exhaustive. Direction from district leaders (including building leaders) will never cover every instance or situation involving our schools and GLBT issues. The overarching concern for every employee should be the safety of each student and the ability of every child to get an education in a school free from harassment. Example Is it neutral? What’s not neutral … Harassing of GLBT students Wearing a rainbow This is largely a free Handing buttons out Ignoring degrading flag/pink triangle speech issue and to students during comments that are button or posting teachers do not give up the school day. directed at one of these in my this right when they someone wearing class. enter school. So, yes Allowing something these buttons. this is permitted. you’re wearing or a However, teachers, like sign in a classroom to students, are distract your class’s responsible for attention or to lead maintaining the learning to a class discussion environment. There are about sexual students who may be orientation. uncomfortable or intimidated by their Be aware that an teacher wearing these organized plan by symbols, and they too building faculty to have a right to an wear/display a 9/22/10 Example Is it neutral? What’s not neutral … Harassing of GLBT students education. button or symbol could be viewed as the school’s support of a particular opinion rather than individual expressions of free speech, even if the intention is to support students. Participating in This is matter of job Singling out or Ignoring degrading “Day of Silence” performance. Because isolating a student comments that are teachers have to talk as during class who is directed at a part of their jobs, it participating in Day student would be impossible for of Silence. participating in Day a teacher to participate of Silence. and still fulfill their Students should be duties. informed ahead of time if they have assignments or class participation that require them to speak, the Day of Silence is not an excuse to not participate in class activities. Work with your school administration if you have special concerns. Acknowledging Anoka-‐Hennepin Recruiting students Directing your personal respects personal for activism (e.g. comments support for GLBT beliefs, but class time is asking them to sign a (including people and/or gay-‐ not the appropriate petition). Contacting potentially rights issues, like venue to talk about students at home or supportive ones) at gay civil unions what you believe on this via personal e-‐ a student or in topic. This could also mail/cell phone for reference to a intimidate students who this purpose is student who has have strong beliefs inappropriate and is not publicly (religious or otherwise) an improper use of identified as GLBT. about homosexuality – student data. 9/22/10 Example Is it neutral? What’s not neutral … Harassing of GLBT students and they have same rights to an education as every other student in your class. Stating your belief As in the example See immediately Personal beliefs – that immediately above, you above. even strongly held homosexuality is shouldn’t take class ones – are not an wrong. time to explain your excuse for ignoring personal beliefs on this or tolerating topic. You will likely harassment in your intimidate students who school based on are gay or who have gay sexual orientation. relatives. Employees have a responsibility to keep schools safe – which includes safety for gay students. A student brings The district recognizes Dismissing a Ignoring the homosexuality/GL that an important part student’s comment “That’s BT issues in your of teaching is reacting comment/statement so gay.” Call it out class to what students bring in such a way that as inappropriate. into the class. Pay denigrates GLBT attention to whether issues or people. it’s directly relevant a lesson. If you can’t find a way to make a good connection to your lesson, it’s is best to find a way move on. The teacher should not interject his/her personal opinions, should stick to known facts, keep the discussion short and find appropriate connections to the lesson. It may be important to convey that it does not 9/22/10 Example Is it neutral? What’s not neutral … Harassing of GLBT students matter what students think or believe about gay people or homosexuality – when they’re in school it’s not OK to make jokes or harass someone based on sexual orientation. A student writes a Yes this is neutral, as Returning the paper related to long as it’s self-‐initiated assignment and homosexuality/GL by the student. As with asking for a rewrite BT/gay civil rights any assignment you based solely upon – pro or con would ensure it meets content; or making the objectives of the comments on the course. paper that specifically oppose the ideas instead of focusing on the process and the student’s learning.
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