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Teacher Walter Filson sues state after being publicly linked to gay taunts

Anoka-Hennepin teacher Walter Filson isn't laughing.

Anoka-Hennepin teacher Walter Filson isn't laughing.

Anoka-Hennepin teacher Walter Filson thought it would be funny to taunt a boy in his class about liking to dress in women's clothes, and having a thing for older men.

He didn't think it was so funny when his own name was made public, after a report surfaced that the boy, Alex Merritt, was forced to abandon the school district because taunting about his wrongly-perceived sexuality became too much to bear.

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Now Filson is suing the state, much in the same way as another Anoka-Hennepin teacher, Diane Cleveland. Both say their privacy was violated by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Cleveland won her case earlier this year.

The district has already settled with Merritt's family for $25,000 -- while denying that it violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Anoka-Hennepin's treatment of GLBT students has been under a microscope this year because of six student suicides that a lot of families are blaming on bullying -- and how the district isn't dealing with it. Parent Tammy Aaberg told the school board in November that she blames bullies for contributing to her gay son's suicide.

But district officials say that, while they don't deny bullying exists, there's no evidence that any of the six suicides this year were linked to bullying.