A local parents group said this photo depicts students who opted out of the lesson. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

Hundreds of high school students opted out of an “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture” lesson this week in the Osseo Area Schools district.

The district confirmed that 394 students “officially opted-out using the provided form at Maple Grove Senior High School.”

A local parents group called 279 Parents United told Alpha News that it estimated that up to 1,000 students opted out at Maple Grove Senior High School. The school had to use a cafeteria and auditorium to accommodate the large number of students opting out, according to the group.

A local parents group said this photo depicts students who opted out Wednesday. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

Hundreds more opted out at Osseo Senior High School, the parents group said. The district did not state how many students formally opted out at Osseo Senior High School.

“Today’s lesson was the direct result of a board resolution passed in 2022 by Jackie Mosqueda-Jones, Kelsey Dawson Walton (running again this year), Thomas Brooks, and Tamara Grady. The unprecedented direction to teach special interest lessons is required to be rolled out to middle school and elementary levels next year,” 279 Parents United said in a statement provided to Alpha News Wednesday.

“When thousands of students opted out of the lesson today it was a clear message that parents and students do not support the agenda of these board members.”

In June 2022, the Osseo school board approved an “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Resolution,” which directed the superintendent and all district staff to “support policies, practices, and curricula that respect LGBTQIA+ students and their families in June and throughout the school year.”

The document lists numerous action items for the superintendent and district staff to follow, including but not limited to:

  • Official recognition of June as “Pride Month.”
  • Dedication of a month other than June to celebrate “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Month.”
  • Allowance of “greater student choice” in which restrooms and locker rooms they use.
  • Support for “gender-affirming curriculum and pedagogical practices.”
  • Establishment of “advisory” and “affinity” groups addressing “structural barriers, inequities, and the lived experience of LGBTQIA+ scholars and their families.”
  • Tracking “district performance” and “progress” on these matters and reporting on them before the school board every June.
  • Flying the “LGBTQIA+ Progress Pride flag” in June “at all district buildings and in the school board room as a symbol of support to our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and their families.”

A large number of parents and community members attended a June 2023 school board meeting to speak out against the resolution. Ahead of this week’s lesson, a national organization called Liberty Counsel wrote to the district after hearing from teachers who described the lesson as “one-sided LGBT political indoctrination.”

“Any teacher who requests a Title VII religious accommodation from teaching the Lesson must be permitted to refrain from teaching it; and may not be subject to retaliation by the District,” the letter said.

In a statement to Alpha News, the district called “equity work” one of its “highest priorities.”

“We strive to ensure equitable student achievement for each and every scholar and to offer school environments where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. The approved LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Resolution is one step in doing this. The basis for these efforts is noted within our core values and strategic plan priorities,” a communications director for the district said.

“Our school board has made it clear that our LGBTQIA+ community needs additional support. This is in part due to our data points, including the Minnesota Student Survey, which shows that there is more work to be done in creating safe, welcoming and inclusive learning environments for all scholars. Additionally the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, and district policies 102, 508 and 514 require the acknowledgement of our LGBTQIA+ community.

“Truly, all scholars benefit when another group is lifted. Our schools are simply trying to create awareness so students and staff are more respectful to each other. Everyone is still welcome and encouraged to have their own beliefs.”

 



Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.





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