Posted at: 10/18/2012 10:55 PM
Updated at: 10/19/2012 1:30 PM
By: Ellen McNamara
Anoka-Hennepin Anti-Bullying Group Allegedly Includes Man from 'Hate Group'
A group formed to protect students, especially lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender students from bullies, now includes a man who speaks out against "homosexual disorders."
The Anoka Hennepin School District just named members to an anti-bullying task force, but some parents have serious concerns about who is on that task force.
Jennifer Cherry is the chair who will help run the meetings.
There are 25 people on the task force. Four are students, ten are employees, and eleven are community members.
However, one of those community members is part of an organization that some say is a hate group.
When the list of names went out, moms Tammy Aaberg and Melissa Thompson were horrified.
"That would be like asking somebody from the Klan to sit on the committee that plans black history month," Thompson said.
"The thing that bothered me the most was that Bryan Lindquist was on there," Aaberg said.
The moms know that Lindquist is part of The Parents Action League, a group that a national civil rights organization called The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled a hate group.
Lindquist declined an interview with KSTP, so we went to Tom Heidemann, the chair of the school board who had the ultimate say on who would be on the task force.
When Heidemann was asked if he thought Lindquist was looking out for all kids, Heidemann said yes and "based on the testimony he's (Lindquist) had at the board, he's concerned about bullying harassment of students," Heidemann said.
Aaberg and Thompson disagree. They've read and heard Lindquist's opinion.
For example, when Lindquist was at a January school board meeting where he spoke about overcoming sexual disorders.
"He talks about this (homosexuality) as being a disorder, it's not," Thompson said.
Thompson's daughter is an Atheist and Aaberg's son, Justin, who was gay committed suicide.
Both women say an adult with an agenda should not be on the task force.
"Knowing that he is on there, and there are kids on there from G.S.A (gay straight alliance), I worry for them," Aaberg said.
"I think again that in order for us to be effective as an organization, we cannot exclude any person based on their religious beliefs," Heidemann said.
The task force meets once a month during the school year.
Heidemann told KSTP that he would not tolerate any intimidating behavior, and kick anyone off the task force that behaves badly.