Don't teach, don't tell?Anoka, Minnesota (CNN) -- Late at night, long after class is dismissed, middle school teacher Jefferson Fietek logs on for his night shift: answering the texts and Facebook posts of suicidal teens.
Fietek, an adviser for his school's Gay-Straight Alliance in Anoka, Minnesota, says he gets messages from students contemplating suicide or those with friends in crisis at least once a week.
Some of the distressed kids are gay, others are questioning their sexuality, he said. Fietek's off-duty interventions may blur the line between teacher and friend, but Fietek, who's openly gay, said some of these kids have no one else to turn to for support.
"I'm worried and concerned about the kids in my school district who are struggling to navigate in a toxic environment," explained Fietek, who said talking to CNN could cost him his job as a theater teacher at Anoka Middle School for the Arts in Anoka-Hennepin. The suburban Minneapolis school district, he said, has a climate where kids "feel they have to lie and cover up who they are."
The district's curriculum policy, adopted in 2009, bars teachers from taking a position on homosexuality in the classroom and says such matters are best addressed outside of school. It's become known as the neutrality policy. Anoka-Hennepin is the only Minnesota school district known to have such a policy.