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Three LGBT students in one district attempt suicide

Three LGBT students in one district attempt suicide

This is just mind-boggling to me that three LGBT students in one single school district thought that suicide is way to solve the problem

From Gayrights.change.org

Imagine this as the opening statement of your latest school board meeting.

““Hi, I’m Tammy Aaberg, the mother of Justin Aaberg, who was a gay student at Anoka High School who committed suicide July 9th of this year.”

Tragedy. Statistics on LGBT suicide are alarming, and when the numbers fly by — that LGBT students are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers — most of us take a moment to reflect on how hard it must be, still, to grow up LGBT.

But this tragedy gets even worse, at least when it comes to the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota. Because it’s not just Justin Aaberg who committed suicide this year. It was two other LGBT students, too. That’s three gay students in the span of one year who have taken their lives, all the while the school district has done nothing to open discussions about LGBT bullying or creating safe spaces for LGBT students in Anoka-Hennepin schools.

Why would the school district do nothing amidst three suicides by LGBT youth? Because they’re worried about offending some socially conservative religious leaders in the area, who want to keep any mention of homosexuality, even if it relates to anti-bullying, verboten on high school campuses.

A toxic atmosphere for LGBT students + a school board afraid to take action + anti-gay groups wielding homophobia = one school district with a reputation for being a truly dangerous place for students. Send the Anoka-Hennepin School Board a message that it’s their responsibility to make sure all students are safe and protected, including students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The Anoka-Hennpin school district is Minnesota’s largest, serving upwards of 40,000 students. At that size, you would think the school board would want to do anything it could to make sure that all 40K are treated with dignity, respect, and given a safe place to learn.

But there’s a disturbing pattern in the Anoka-Hennepin school district of ignoring the safety concerns and threats that LGBT students face. A year ago, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a blistering investigation into a case of two teachers in the district, who harassed a student because he was gay. In the wake of that incident, activists pleaded with the school district to enact an anti-bullying curriculum that dealt with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The school board didn’t listen.

Now, one year later, and with three suicides by gay students under its belt, the Anoka-Hennepin School Board is again being pressured to take a tougher stand on bullying, and to rebuff efforts like those made by Focus on the Family, which see anti-bullying programs as nothing short of indoctrinating kids with homosexuality. These anti-gay activists fight anti-bullying programs tooth and nail. And the result is a toxic climate for LGBT students, and one that leads to violence and suicide.

Justin’s mother Tammy puts a somber punctuation mark on the Anoka-Hennepin School Board’s ambivalence toward LGBT bullying and LGBT suicide.

“Do you think my son Justin deserved to die because there are other kids who feel superior by picking on him and no staff member will stop them?”

What a dereliction of responsibility by the Anoka-Hennepin School Board. Send their School Board President, Tom Heidemann, plus Superintendent Dennis Carlson a message right now. These leaders are failing their students by allowing a climate where LGBT suicide and LGBT bullying can thrive.

And check out a moving memorial video below dedicated to the life of Justin Aaberg, created by his family and friends. Heartbreaking that because his school district failed to show leadership, and all too easily caved in to anti-gay activists spreading lies and misinformation, that Justin’s life had to end all too prematurely. And it leaves a bitter question for the Anoka-Hennepin school district: how many more students have to go through this before you decide to take action?

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