LETTER: Clarifying facts on A-H school board’s policy

To the Editor:

I am responding directly to Barb Anderson’s attack on me and the false information in her letter to the editor published Sept. 27. First of all, I respect Ms. Anderson’s right o her continued efforts to promote her agenda. I have spent many hours talking to her in an attempt to better understand her concerns. Unfortunately, she continues to ignore the facts in order to further her own agenda. For me, my agenda is making sure we have schools that can and will educate all students. Every student. We cannot rest in our schools or communities as long as there is bullying of any kind.

Ms. Anderson states in her letter that I lied relative to the sexual orientation curriculum policy. She won’t cite the facts, so I will. The facts are, the school board received many inputs from the community and Anoka-Hennepin staff that the policy and the specific language on neutrality were confusing and difficult to interpret and implement on a daily basis. For the school board and me, our course was careful listening and consideration of all concerns on the policy, which resulted in a carefully crafted new Respectful Learning Policy that better defined what it means to be neutral. The final policy is even stronger now in terms of defining neutrality in our classrooms and affirming all students. It is important to state the fact strongly that there have been no curriculum changes as a result of the policy.

I continue to address difficult and controversial issues, head on, in attempt to get things done so our children’s education is not adversely impacted. They have one chance and it is too important to compromise. The school board cannot shut down the school district because we cannot agree, like the Legislature did our government in 2011. We must stay the course, solve problems and keep the doors safely open to all students.

John Hoffman