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Salon: The anti-gay bullying problem is bigger than Bachmann (with commentary by Stuart Biegel)

By Natasha Lennard

Mother Jones published a story Monday detailing the disturbing recent history of anti-gay bullying in a school system in the heart of Michele Bachmann's Minnesota congressional district. In just the past two years, there have been nine suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, and a number of the victims were gay or had been subjected to homophobic bullying. ...

Professor Stuart Biegel of UCLA School of Law, who wrote The Right to be Out, which examines the pervasiveness of anti-gay prejudice in American schools, told Salon that he is "very familiar with what's happening in the [Anoka-Hennepin] district" and the problem of bullying there. He noted that the Justice Department and the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights recently launched a federal investigation into allegations of harassment and bullying in the specific school district -- where it is official policy to be "neutral" regarding "sexual orientation." The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have called the policy a dangerous "gag rule" and have filed a federal suit against the district.

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