This opinion column originally appeared on minnesota.publicradio.org on 7/14/11.
Author: ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco
"Over the top" only begins to describe a June 27 commentary piece authored by Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Kate Kendall of the National Center for Lesbian Rights regarding the Anoka-Hennepin School District's sexual orientation curriculum policy.
In their piece, the authors inaccurately describe the policy as a "gag policy" that completely bans even the mention of issues related to persons who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered in the Anoka-Hennepin schools. The plain language of the policy does no such thing. Rather, it says the following: "Anoka-Hennepin staff, in the course of their professional duties, shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation including but not limited to student led discussions. If and when staff address sexual orientation, it is important that staff do so in a respectful manner that is age-appropriate, factual, and pertinent to the relevant curriculum."
Neutrality, which is what the policy requires, does not equal silence. The groups' misrepresentation of the policy in a manner directly contradicted by its terms appears to be nothing other than a calculated move to advance their political agenda.
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