Students sue Minn. district over gay policy

By STEVE KARNOWSKI | July 21, 2011 | 12:44 PM EDT

CHAMPLIN, Minn. (AP) — Several current and former students are suing Minnesota's largest school district over its policy requiring staff to remain neutral when the topic of sexual orientation is raised in the classroom.

The five plaintiffs contend that the Anoka-Hennepin School District policy amounts to a gag order that prevents staff from protecting non-straight students from harassment.

Three of the plaintiffs are openly gay or bisexual. The students want a judge to block the policy and award them damages.

The policy was criticized after six students committed suicide in less than two years. A parent of one of those students says her son was bullied for being gay and gay advocacy groups say some of the other students were also bullied.

The district said its internal investigation did not confirm that.