The Justice Department and the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights are looking into "allegations of harassment and discrimination in the Anoka-Hennepin School District based on sex, including peer-on-peer harassment based on not conforming to gender stereotypes," according to a district memo obtained by CNN.
The federal investigation comes after a string of seven student suicides in less than two years, which stirred public debate over the district's sexual orientation curriculum policy. Parents and friends say four of those students were either gay, perceived to be gay or questioning their sexuality and reports are that at least two of them were bullied over their sexuality.
It is unclear whether the suicides or the policy are a significant part of the federal investigation, reporters Poppy Harlow and Emily Probst write on CNN.com.
The district's controversial policy, adopted in 2009, states that staff must "remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation" and that "such matters are best addressed within individual family homes, churches, or community organizations."The head of the Anoka-Hennepin school district told CNN the policy reflects a community divided over homosexuality.