Minnesota school district adopts ‘radical’ LGBTQ resolution ‘snuck in’ at the last minute

After a last-minute change to its board agenda, Minnesota’s fifth-largest school district voted to adopt a “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Resolution” promising to push unspecified “gender…

After a last-minute change to its board agenda, Minnesota’s fifth-largest school district voted to adopt a “LGBTQIA+ History and Culture Resolution” promising to push unspecified “gender affirming” curricula. 

Parents and other concerned citizens criticized the resolution during the public comment period of the June 21 meeting of Osseo Area Schools, protesting that the proposal was “snuck in,” while also raising questions about how new LBTQIA+ curricula would be vetted.  

The board resolution “declares June as Pride Month and directs 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. 

It also requires the “full implementation of our Gender Inclusion Policy, support for Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) and Queer Straight Alliances (QSAs) in our schools, professional development for all school staff, and gender-affirming curriculum and pedagogical practices.” 

The resolution reportedly appeared on the meeting agenda June 17, with only a holiday weekend before the Tuesday evening board meeting June 21.  

During the meeting, one mother lamented she had only heard about the resolution the day before. Another man, identifying himself as living in the district, protested that it was “snuck in” at the last minute.  

Christine Troyven, executive director of Minnesota Parents Alliance, spoke on behalf of many district parents, she said, who called her organization with concerns. 

“There was no public comment solicited. … That’s frightening,” Troyven told the board. “I think that this resolution is proposing what looks to be sort of a redirection of district funding and staff resources toward a very radical agenda. And I think that the community deserves to have a conversation about that. Your board deserves to have a conversation about that.” 

Troyven also said the parents she spoke with are threatening to leave the district if the resolution passed. “This feels sneaky to parents,” she added. 

Two of the six board members also opposed the resolution, pointing out its vague language and raising questions about how the actionable items would be funded and what “gender affirming curriculum” really means. 

“Parents are asking questions about [curricula],” Tanya Simons, board treasurer, said during the meeting. “And I think it’s appropriate that parents do ask that and say, ‘What does that actually mean for my child?’” 

Simons also asked who gave input on the resolution’s language, which not even the board itself had discussed internally. “Who provided input on this resolution before it was published to our own constituents?” she asked, never receiving an answer. 

Simons also sought clarity on what the board is “actually implementing.” 

“We don’t vote on actions that say, ‘We’re going to figure out what this means later,’” she said.  

The resolution also proposes data collection about student gender identity, which requires parental consent according to state law, Simons pointed out – a requirement not addressed in the proposal. 

Another section of the resolution invites the community to be involved in a Pride Flag raising ceremony. “It’s not really the role of this board to communicate to people what they should or shouldn’t celebrate,” Simons argued. 

Supporters of the resolution say the proposal is necessary to create a safe environment for all students, especially members of the LGBTQIA+ community. But board member Heather Douglas shared how three of her four children actually had experienced bullying in the school from the other direction – bullied because of their straight sexual orientation.  

Douglas also expressed concerns about the curricula. 

“The curriculum component of it, I feel, is quite vague and I would appreciate more transparency around what curriculum are we talking about. … We need to have more public input on what is appropriate. We need to allow our committees to vet and determine what we’re using.” 

After arguments for and against, and despite the short notice given to the community, the resolution passed 4-2. Board members Thomas Brooks, Kelsey Dawson Walton, Tamara Grady and Jackie Mosqueda-Jones voted in favor of the resolution, with Douglas and Simons against.