November 15, 2012
In recent weeks yet another chapter has been opened in the controversy over the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s handling of bullying. A group of parents and students is petitioning school board Chair Tom Heidemann to remove a vocal anti-gay activist from a district anti-bullying task force. A member of the Parents Action League (PAL), Bryan Lindquist demanded earlier this year that the district distribute information about gay conversion or “reparative” therapy. In September, California enacted a law banning the practice of the therapy, which is considered dangerous by mainstream medical and psychological groups, on children and teens. “Safe schools for all youth doesn’t mean including a man with this guy’s well-documented history on the task force,” wrote one petitioner, Liz Oppenheimer. “While the intention is worthwhile, the impact of allowing Bryan Lindquist on the task force is horrifically insensitive.” At the Oct. 22 meeting board member John Hoffman, elected to the state Senate as a DFLer last week despite PAL’s efforts, agreed. “Mr. Lindquist … has repeatedly spoken out against affirming all students and does not support the current policy. Mr. Lindquist has publicly stated that LGBT individuals suffer from a disorder,” he said. “This kind of language and sentiment has no place on this task force and does not represent the views of the vast majority of residents that I am talking to within the Anoka-Hennepin School District, and it certainly doesn’t represent the needs and rights of all students.”