Bullying | Gay Youth | Minnesota

Minnesota School District 'Investigation' Says Bullying Not Responsible For Suicides

The Anoka-Hennepin School District, Minnesota's largest school district, has seen six students take their lives over the past year and a half. One of them was 15-year-old Justin Aaberg who, according to his friends, took his life after being bullied in school. The school district has recently completed an "investigation" into teenage bullying and concluded that bullying was not responsible for any of the suicides in their district.

JustinSaid Superintendent Dennis Carlson in an official statement: "As we all try to heal from the pain of these deaths, the continuation of inaccurate information is not helpful," Carlson said in his message. "Once again, we have no evidence that bullying played a role in any of our student deaths."

As Minnesota Public Radio points out, "District officials didn't conduct a formal investigation into the student suicides, but to figure out why six students took their own lives, they had a series of conversations among district officials, as well as with parents and others who knew the students."

Justin's mother thinks the school's so-called investigation is a total crock.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, "The district's conclusion doesn't sit well with Tammy Aaberg. Her son Justin, who was gay, killed himself this past summer. She said she can't say for sure that an act of bullying caused Justin to hang himself. 'I don't know what the last thing was to drove him over the edge,' she said. 'I don't have proof of his last day.'"

"But Aaberg said that's less important than the fact that she's knows Justin was bullied and the district, she feels, isn't an inviting place for some students. 'So many kids have come to me on Facebook that aren't even in the district anymore that have dropped out or are in alternative schools -- that have been bullied and they didn't do anything,' she said."

"Since her son's death, Aaberg has pushed the district for policies she says would make schools more welcoming for all students. The claim that bullying didn't cause any of the suicides was also disputed this week by a teen who told school board members that his friend, one of the suicide victims, killed herself because she'd been bullied so much. District officials are now looking into that claim."

In 2009, two Anoka-Hennepin School District teachers were ordered to go on leave after harrassing a gay teenager.

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Comments

  1. Of course the District is going to deny bullying. If they admitted it they'd open themselves up to lawsuits. It's ridiculous for an organization like this to do an internal investigation when there is only one favourable conclusion and money on the line.

    Posted by: unruly | Dec 19, 2010 3:27:18 PM


  2. Sue the living daylights out of them. "Nothing opens the closed mind of an administrator quite as much as the sound of a purse being tightly closed." - Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

    I know in Arizona we have the ability to pay a private school and deduct that on state taxes 100% as a credit.

    I think I'm going to do this next year with a very gay friendly little Episcopal school two lesbian friends of mine run. I'm sick of the bullying in my local school district and the spineless administrators who do nothing.

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 19, 2010 3:46:41 PM


  3. Anti-Gay Vipers and the Outsider Archetype

    People who identify with the LGBT community live in the shadow of the outsider archetype, whether they are or not aware of it. Even in communities where their survival is not immediately threatened from the outside.

    However, the possibility of a life-threatening change remains ever-present. The treacherous activities of the religious right. Political censors. Gay basher who are penetrating the heart of metropolitan gay communities. Medical professions, which continue to foist drugs known to be toxic such as AZT and DDI to HIV positive people. Cure-happy psychologist.

    All of these figures confirm the need to be wary of anti-gay vipers and numerous forms. Such narcissism only draws out the worst in people.

    I’m Layla Miller, I Know Stuff

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Dec 19, 2010 4:14:13 PM


  4. So, six students kill themselves in the past year and a half and officials say that none of them were because of bullying... Yet in 2009, two teachers were let go because they harassed a gay teenager in school... Nope, nothing to see here! Move along, move along.

    Posted by: Baraeris | Dec 19, 2010 4:59:27 PM


  5. Kook kids,it's not DADT,so isn't a BIg deal.

    It's better to keep on serving and killing, then, well, anything at all.

    Posted by: Rowan | Dec 19, 2010 6:26:41 PM


  6. This supposed "investigation" is a farce and a slap in the face to all of those who have been, and continue to suffer the torment at the hands of the bullies. This just gives aid and comfort to the bullies as well as to those who allow it to happen.

    The Superintendent also told teachers and staff that the statements of those who went to the board and told of bullying around teachers who did nothing, were ALL NOT TRUE.

    In an effort to silence those who wanted to speak about this at the most recent school board meeting, the board restricted public comments to just 2 minutes, instead of the usual 5 minutes which is posted on their web-site. At the 2 minute mark, we were abruptly cut off.

    The superintendent and the board are putting all the responsibility on the bullied victims to come forth with specific names and dates so they can do something. Without specifics, they claim, that "it is impossible to deal with." If it is impossible for them to deal with, they need to step aside and let people in who WILL deal with the bullying/suicide crisis they are facing.

    They continue to deny, lie, blame others, and play the victim card, all the while enforcing a so-called "neutrality" policy aimed at silencing discussions on LGBT issues in the classroom. A better name would be The "I Hate the Gays" policy.

    The school district already paid out $25,000 to the student who was being harassed by teachers for his "perceived" sexual orientation.

    To the LGBT students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, please know that you have great support from all of us who will continue to fight in order that you have a safe environment, where ALL students are treated equally with dignity and respect.

    Posted by: Dale | Dec 19, 2010 6:27:17 PM


  7. It's the responsibility of ADULT LG get out there and speak, engage, educate and stand up for our rights...not just for ourselves, but defenseless, innocent LGBT children who don't have a voice and feel alone and silent; it's our duty to pave the way for a more unified, understanding, CIVIL world for generations to come. Just as LGBT in stonewall made it possible for us to come out of the closet, we as the current LGBT community must polish a society that makes it tolerable for the next generation to get married, be accepted, and be treated as the equal of their hetrosexual counterparts. Because we are just as equal and valid as any other person walking this planet.

    Posted by: Daddolfe | Dec 19, 2010 6:41:30 PM


  8. Clearly a case of CYA.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Dec 19, 2010 10:31:41 PM


  9. It should come as no surprise that part of the Anoka-Hennepin school district is in MN Congressional district 6, which is represented by Michelle Bachmann.

    The school district has demonstrated that it's run by a bunch of wacko's who need to be replaced.

    Posted by: Fred | Dec 19, 2010 11:41:24 PM


  10. School districts [and teacher's organizations, including their all-powerful unions] are particularly adept at CYA.

    Before a 'progressive' jumps down my throat, I'm not a conservative, Republican, nor am I particularly opposed to unions. Just the public sector ones actually.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 20, 2010 6:21:27 AM


  11. "Anoka-Hennepin paid a $25,000 settlement to former student Alex Merritt and his family after the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found probable cause that the teachers harassed Merritt, who is straight, because they thought he was gay. The district denies it violated the state's Human Rights Act." As far as I know, the teachers were not fired!!! Read it here.....

    http://www.startribune.com/local/north/53591317.html

    You should read the crap these teachers said to this student!!! Asking him if he wanted another student, that they also perceived to be gay to go to the bathroom with him, so he could stomp his foot in the neighboring stall...wonderful educators...huh?

    Posted by: Leesa Nixon | Dec 20, 2010 8:20:14 AM


  12. Here is the Minnesota Department of Human Rights finding against these teachers: http://www.humanrights.state.mn.us/settlements/case51679.html

    and this school district doesn't believe ANY of these suicides were because of bullying...well I call bullshit!

    Posted by: Leesa Nixon | Dec 20, 2010 8:34:09 AM


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