Anoka-Hennepin School District 11
|Anoka-Hennepin School District|
|Type and location|
|Region||North Metropolitan Twin Cities|
|Superintendent||Dennis L. Carlson|
|Students and staff|
The Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 is a school district in Minnesota, northwest of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The district serves 13 communities: All of Anoka, Champlin and Coon Rapids, and parts of Andover, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Dayton, Fridley, Ham Lake, Nowthen, Oak Grove and Ramsey. The district's name refers to its geographic span over two counties: it covers the southern portion of Anoka County and the northeast part of Hennepin County. The district was formed in 1952 after dozens of small rural school districts voted to consolidate.
The superintendent is Mr. Dennis L. Carlson. The previous superintendent, Dr. Roger Giroux, retired in 2008. As of the 2012-13 school year, it is the second largest school district in Minnesota with an enrollment of 37,880, students in grades K-12. Additional students attend pre-k programs as well as adults who are earning a diploma or GED through the district's Adult Basic Education program.
Anoka-Hennepin is governed by a six member board who are elected to four-year terms.
Anti-gay harassment, 'suicide contagion' and school board policies
Between 2009 and 2011, nine students in Anoka-Hennepin committed suicide; the area is designated by state health officials as a "suicide contagion area." Many of these students were gay or perceived by their classmates to be gay, leading to bullying. The district is the subject of a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education over the climate of anti-gay harassment and discrimination based on sex, including peer-on-peer harassment based on not conforming to gender stereotypes.
Anoka-Hennepin is in the congressional district represented by Michele Bachmann and contains the high school the congresswoman attended; this suicide epidemic led to questions during her presidential campaign about her opposition to anti-bullying policies and her other anti-gay policies and rhetoric. Her office did not comment on the suicides.
The district received criticism for its Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy (Feb. 2009) because it stated that teachers should be neutral when addressing issues of sexual orientation in their classrooms. Critics said this "neutrality policy" prevented acceptance and open discussion of GLBT people and issues in schools, and was essentially a "gag order" on teachers. District administration attempted to clarify the policy by explaining its anti-bullying and harassment policies specifically name sexual orientation as a protected class of people. The Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy stated teachers can address issues of sexual orientation in their classes provided the discussion is age-appropriate, fact-based and connected to the curriculum. In July 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a lawsuit against the district because of this policy. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five current and former students who say that they were discriminated against because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and that teachers and district officials facilitated said violence and discrimination; a sixth student was added to the lawsuit a month later.
On February 13, 2012, the policy was repealed and replaced by a vote of 5-1 with a new Respectful Learning Environment Policy.[Official Text Pending Publication] The former policy required district staff to "remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation," while discussing such topics "in a respectful manner that is age-appropriate, factual, and pertinent to the relevant curriculum."  By comparison, the new policy states, "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." It states that such discussions, "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." Finally, the new policy states that, "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."[Official Text Pending Publication]
Schools and facilities
- Adams Elementary School
- Andover Elementary School
- Crooked Lake Elementary School
- Dayton Elementary School
- Eisenhower Elementary School
- Evergreen Park Elementary School
- Franklin Elementary School
- Hamilton Elementary School
- Hoover Elementary School
- Jefferson Elementary School
- Johnsville Elementary School
- Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts
- L.O. Jacob Elementary School
- Madison Elementary School
- McKinley Elementary School
- Mississippi Elementary School
- Monroe Elementary School
- Morris Bye Elementary School
- Oxbow Creek Elementary School
- Ramsey Elementary School
- Rum River Elementary School
- Sand Creek Elementary School
- Sorterberg Elementary School
- University Avenue Elementary School
- Wilson Elementary School
- Anoka Middle School
- Coon Rapids Middle School
- Jackson Middle School
- Northdale Middle School
- Oak View Middle School
- Roosevelt Middle School
- Sandburg Middle School
Senior High Schools
- Andover High School
- Anoka High School
- Blaine High School (includes the Center for Engineering, Mathematics and Science)
- Champlin Park High School
- Coon Rapids High School
The district runs two specialized programs for high school students:
- Crossroads Alternative High School
- Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP)
- Bell Center
- Bridges Program
- Early Childhood at the Family Center Mall
- Educational Service Center (district office)
- Family Welcome Center
- Learning Center and Distribution Complex (houses Community Education Department, Early Childhood Special Education and Special Education departments)
- Riverview Early Childhood Center
- Transition Plus
These private and parochial schools are located within the Anoka-Hennepin School District but are not affiliated.
- Epiphany Catholic School
- Saint Stephens Catholic School
- "Anoka-Hennepin School Board". Anoka-Hennepin School District. Retrieved Oct 18, 2011.
- Mencimer, Stephanie (July 25, 2011). "The Teen Suicide Epidemic in Michele Bachmann's District". Mother Jones.
- Harlow, Poppy and Probst, Emily. (July 20, 2011). "Minnesota school district investigated after civil rights complaint". CNN.com.
- Birkey, Andy. MinnesotaIndependent.com 29 Sept. 2010 "Following suicides, Anoka-Hennepin community presses school board for change" http://minnesotaindependent.com/71475/following-suicides-anoka-hennepin-community-presses-school-board-for-change
- Carlson, Dennis. StarTribune.com 10 Aug. 2011 "Superintendent: GLBT neutrality policy is best for Anoka-Hennepin schools" http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/127490178.html
- Sun, Christine (July 21, 2011). "Why We're Suing Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District". Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Baca, Maria Elena (13 February 2012). "Anoka-Hennepin school district votes to replace neutrality policy". StarTribune (in English) (Minneapolis: StarTribune). Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Rubin Erdely, Sabrina (February 2, 2012). "One Town's War on Gay Teens". Rolling Stone.