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Tammy Aaberg, mother of Justin Aaberg, to deliver petition to Michele Bachmann

Tammy Aaberg, the mother of an Anoka-Hennepin student who committed suicide in 2010.

Tammy Aaberg, the mother of an Anoka-Hennepin student who committed suicide in 2010.

Much has been made of the rash of teenage suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district in the last two years. That is, except by the congresswoman who represents much of the area encompassed by the district, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.

Even as local and national media pursues the story, Bachmann has remained conspicuously mum.

Now, one of the mothers of a boy who committed suicide after years of bullying and harassment over his sexuality is asking Bachmann to address the issue publicly.

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Justin Aaberg was only 15 when his mother Tammy discovered him dead in his bedroom. After her son's suicide, Aaberg learned from his friends that Justin had suffered from harassment from his classmates over his sexuality. His was one of nine suicides in the district in two years.

Since then, she's become a crusader against bullying and the district's "neutrality policy" which dictates that teachers may not respond positively or negatively to students when issues of homosexuality come up.

Bachmann's presidential candidacy has not been able to avoid scrutiny over the issue, and Bachmann herself has stayed silent on the volatile topic. Now, Aaberg is asking the congresswoman to take a position one way or another.

"This shouldn't be a political issue when we're dealing with kids' lives," she told City Pages. "All kids deserve protection."

Today at noon, Aaberg will present the petition to Bachmann's office in Waite Park. It states, in part:

Justin Aaberg committed suicide, and his mom wants Michele Bachmann to know about it.

Justin Aaberg committed suicide, and his mom wants Michele Bachmann to know about it.

No student should feel threatened or unsafe at school, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Rep. Michele Bachmann has an obligation to the constituents she represents to speak out, and do everything she can to stop this dangerous trend of teen suicides in her district.

Tell Michele Bachmann: Denounce anti-gay bullying in your district.

Read the entire petition here.

Aaberg is, of course, well aware of Bachmann's position opposing both gay marriage and bullying laws, as well as her husband's clinic, which has been characterized as a reparative therapy haven.

"I don't know how much luck I'll have," she sighs. "But I at least have to try."

Bachmann herself won't be there to get the petition -- she's on a political tour out west, with an event in San Rafael, California this morning -- but it'll be there for her when she gets back.

Previous coverage:

  • Parents group petition defends Anoka-Hennpin's anti-gay policy