Burnsville Schools’ LGBTQ Policies Breed Controversy

This week’s edition covers stories 
from December 8th to December 14th, 2022.

Today’s issue is 553 words, a 4.3minute read.

In today’s edition: controversy in the Somali community over Burnsville Schools’ new LGBTQ policies, a well-loved mural at the American Indian Center is temporarily moved, and where to ice skate in the Twin Cities

Continue reading to find out more…

More than 300 parents attended Monday night’s Somali Parent Committee for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage schools listening session. 📸 Abdi Mohamed | Sahan Journal

Good morning, NewPrensa readers! Helene here. I’ve been following some of the goings-on in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savageschool districtlately as they’re met with controversy from Somali parents surrounding their newly-adopted policies regarding transgender students. “The policy includes a clause about keeping a student’s transgender identity confidential—including from the student’s parents—unless the student authorized the school to share that information” wrote Becky Dernbach with the Sahan Journal. Many parents expressed concern over having information about their children hidden from them as a consequence of the policies. It didn’t help that in recent days, rumors went around social media and Somali WhatsApp groups claiming that the schools would be able to administer gender-affirming hormonal therapies without parents’ knowledge or consent. To be clear, the district can’t do this, or even administer something as small as Tylenol, without parents’ consent. 

District employees expressed their thoughts around the impressive turnouts this past week, with some concern over parents’ “venting” setting the conversation back. The energy at the meeting seemed to be fueled by misinformation surrounding the policies themselves and concern for the district inappropriately withholding information from parents about their child’s wellbeing. Still, there were productive conversations that came out of the meeting. Salma Hussein, principal at Gideon Pond Elementary and the only female Somali principal in Minnesota, had conversations with parents after the listening session, where she spoke openly about the importance of representing all students in the school district. The whole situation is complicated, and tensions remain high between some parents and district employees. I think it’s fair to say, though, that even while cultural differences can breed misunderstandings, all parties have kept the safety and wellbeing of students as a top priority. 

Longtime visitors to the American Indian Center may notice that a large public artwork that has been a signature of the corridor since the 1970s is currently absent. 📸 Melissa Olson | MPR News file

Checking in: visitors to the American Indian Center may have noticed the absence of artist George Morrison’s mural that had previously been on the outside of the building since the 1970s. The American Indian Center is currently undergoing a $32.5 million renovation, and as part of the process has disassembled the mural and sent it away to Montana to be cleaned and reassembled with a conservator. When it makes its return, likely in 2025 when the renovations are nearly complete, the mural will be installed on a different wall on the east side, where it will be protected under an awning. It’s important for the mural to be seen by the community, and the architect in charge of the renovations, Sam Olbekson, intends on honoring Morrison’s wishes for the future of the mural. You can visit the American Indian Center at 1530 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404. Don’t wait up for this mural any time soon, though, if you’re planning a visit! 

Finally, I’m sure many of you are getting antsy for the holidays. Why stay inside when you could get out into the cold Minnesota air? Why not try something new this year, like ice skating? Below are a few resources for our readers to get outside for some slippery and sliding fun! 

  • Skating on Lake of the Isles is always fun, and the long, thin lake is a great place for beginner skaters to get the skating motion down and build some confidence! 
  • St. Paul’s WinterSkate with beautiful views of St. Paul is an instant classic. It’s a perfect date night, if you aren’t too afraid of falling in front of your sweetie. 
  • I’ve heard that the Roseville Skating Center is impressive, and it boasts the largest refrigerated outdoor rink in North America!

Thinking of heading somewhere else for some winter fun? Keep us in the loop! We want to hear how you’re getting adventurous, staying warm, and spending time with your loved ones this holiday season. 

You may have noticed that it’s just me writing this week. Not to worry, readers! Isabella will be with us again in no time. That’s all from me this week! I’ll be back next Thursday. 

Helene, with NewPrensa

Hi, friend: Helene here! 
I’m a Communications Specialist by day and building snowmen by night!

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