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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Doe v. Anoka-Hennepin Sch. Dist. ED-MN-0001
Docket / Court 0:11-cv-01999-JNE-SER ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization National Center for Lesbian Rights
Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On July 11, 2012, current and former students represented by private counsel, and two non-profit public interest firms, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Judge Joan N. Ericksen, Magistrate ... read more >
On July 11, 2012, current and former students represented by private counsel, and two non-profit public interest firms, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Judge Joan N. Ericksen, Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau) against their school district. The plaintiffs asked the Court for injunctive relief, attorneys' fees, and damages, claiming denial of equal protection on the basis of sexual orientation under the Fourteenth Amendment, discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that they experienced physical and emotional harms due to unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation and sex-based stereotypes that the defendant perpetuated and enforced through its policies and practices. The defendant's allegedly discriminatory policies were first instated in the mid-1990s, with a health curriculum policy prohibiting teachers from teaching that homosexuality was "normal" or valid. In 2009, the defendant created the "Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy," which disallowed the teaching of sexual orientation as part of the school district's curriculum, and suggested that these matters were better addressed outside of the school. The plaintiffs claimed that this policy prevented school officials from responding adequately to anti-LGBT bullying and led to differential treatment of LGBT students.

Between August 23, 2011 and March 1, 2012, the parties engaged in several settlement conferences before Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau. On March 1, 2012, the Court (Judge Joan N. Ericksen) granted the parties' joint motion to consolidate this case with another case concerning similar questions of law and fact (E.R. v. Anoka-Hennepin Sch. Dist. No. 11, 11-CV-2282) for pretrial proceedings. On March 6, 2012, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office filed an intervenor complaint on behalf of the plaintiffs.

On March 6, 2012, the Court (Judge Joan N. Ericksen) entered a consent decree negotiated by the plaintiffs, the defendant, and the United States. The five-year decree requires the school district to revise its policies and appropriately respond to student harassment in accordance with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965, and the United States' Office for Civil Rights (OCR) guidance. As per the decree, the school must provide, among other things: annual harassment and diversity training for students and employees, a mental health professional meeting certain requirements at all times, an anti-bullying survey, more active monitoring of potential harassment "hot spots," and a better platform for student input. The school district's insurance carrier also paid $270,000 to the plaintiffs as settlement.

On May 6, 2013, the Court denied the plaintiffs motion to seal certain pleadings. Doe v. Anoka-Hennepin Sch. Dist. No. 11, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64126, at *1 (D. Minn.).

Stella Cernak - 03/17/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Anoka-Hennepin School District No. 11
Plaintiff Description Five current and former students of Anoka-Hennepin School District No. 11, who were unlawfully discriminated against based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, through school policies.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Center for Lesbian Rights
Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2012 - 2017
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
0:11-cv-01999-JNE-SER (D. Minn.) 07/23/2013
ED-MN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
0:11-cv-2282 (D. Minn.) 07/23/2013
ED-MN-0001-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [PACER] 07/21/2011
ED-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Intervenor Complaint 03/06/2012 (2012 WL 1672731)
ED-MN-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 03/06/2012
ED-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Ericksen, Joan N. (D. Minn.)
ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Rau, Steven E. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate]
ED-MN-0001-9002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003
Brooker, Gregory G (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Chester, Martin S. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Culberth, Celeste E. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Cummings, Torey B. (District of Columbia)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Daniel, Tamica (District of Columbia)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Dolan, Christopher H. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Jones, Todd (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003
Lienemann, Leslie L. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9002
Long, Colton D. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
ED-MN-0001-0002 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Ponto, Michael A. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Stephenson, Zachary L. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Stoll, Christopher Francis (California)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Sun, Christine P. (Alabama)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Turner, Ilona Margaret (California)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Wolfe, Samuel (Alabama)
ED-MN-0001-0001 | ED-MN-0001-0003 | ED-MN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baker, John M. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Bazis, Jeanette M. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Cady, Paul (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-0003
Dunlop, Sybil L. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Johnson, Mark L. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Statler, Kathleen K. (Minnesota)
ED-MN-0001-9000 | ED-MN-0001-9002
Other Lawyers None on record

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