LJWorld.com weblogs Schoolhouse talk

Chicago considers gay-friendly high school


Public school officials in Chicago are suggesting the district open a [gay-friendly high school][1]. They say harassment and violence causes gay students to skip class and drop out of high school at high rates. (Plus, the mayor of Chicago, [Richard M. Daley][2], really [embraces the gay community][3]. Ever been to [Boy's Town][4]? Check out the [rainbow spires][5] he added a few years ago. And they have great drink specials. Or so I've heard.)The [School for Social Justice Pride Campus][6] would not be for only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, but for any student who feels bullied about their orientation or perceived orientation. Schools chief [Arne Duncan][7] will ask the school board to approve the school which could open in 2009 or 2010. "We want to create great new options for communities that have been traditionally underserved," Duncan said to the Chicago Tribune. "If you look at national studies, you see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates. ... I think there is a niche there we need to fill."Speaking of national studies, the [Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network][8] released a study that said [86% of LGBT kids experience verbal harassment][9], 41% have been physically harassed and 22% have been physically assaulted.The School for Social Justice Pride would not be the first gay-friendly high school in the country. The [Harvey Milk High School][10] in New York City opened in 2003 and is named after the [first openly gay man][11] to be elected to a public office in California (soon to be the subject of a [major motion picture][12] starring [Sean Penn][13] and [James Franco][14]). And guess who [showed up][15] at the opening? [Fred Phelps][16] and company. What do you think about this idea for a gay-friendly high school?Right now, only 11 states have a law that protects students from harassment based on sexual orientation. Kansas is not one of them.Is this a good idea or a type of segregation? [1]: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/13/gay.friendly.school/index.html?eref=rss_topstories/ [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_m_daley [3]: http://www.chicagopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/4006441 [4]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boystown,_Chicago [5]: http://www.purpleroofs.com/newsletters2002/020505pics/chicago3.html [6]: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/content/education/chi-gay-school-09oct09,0,6688471.story [7]: http://www.cps.k12.il.us/AboutCPS/people/Duncan/duncan.html [8]: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html [9]: http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/2340.html [10]: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/02/M586/default.htm [11]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_milk [12]: http://www.apple.com/trailers/focus_features/milk/ [13]: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000576/ [14]: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0290556/ [15]: http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/10970/ [16]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Phelps


Ragingbear 9 years, 4 months ago

That sounds about as effective as segregating African-Americans into a school and just calling it "African American Friendly".

Satirical 9 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't this issue already decided? Wasn't it called something like Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka?

Trobs 9 years, 4 months ago

I do not advocate the harassment these student suffer for their sexual orientation. However, separating them from other students does nothing more then band-aid the problem. It continues the growing trend in our country of simply moving the issue instead of finding an answer to the problem. I will not admit to have an answer, but separation is not the answer.

LiberalDude 9 years, 4 months ago

Every high school should be gay friendly!!!We need to have more diversity and tolerance training in ALL schools starting in grade school. I agree with the others that have posted that there shouldn't be a separate school.

denak 9 years, 4 months ago

I'm kind of torn on this issue. On one hand, I feel for children who are bullied and feel so ostracized that they drop out of school. That is just a one way ticket to nowhere. However, I do not think it is a good idea. As harsh as it may sound, I think the students would do better to stay in a "regular" high school where they have to learn to deal with the good and the bad. High school is hard for anyone who doesn't fit into a particular niche. I think the schools should implement a tolerance program. I'm not too familiar with LHS but from what I understand, they have a Gay-Straight Alliance, and a wonderful student advisor, that works to educate the student body on issues regarding homosexual and lesbian students. Kids are receptive to messages of equality and studies show that younger people are more open towards the gay community than older generations. So, I think the money spent on building a new school, would be of better use by implementing programs to advance tolerance.Dena

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