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District Wants to Open Gay Friendly School

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Chicago Public Schools officials announced support for a opening a high school dedicated to gay students. Will tolerance be improved by segregation?

Chicago Public Schools leaders are proposing to open a gay and lesbian high school after a national survey found that nearly 90% of gay students have been harassed at school. "We want to create great new options for communities that have been traditionally undeserved," said school chief Arne Duncan. "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." The high school would incorporate lessons about sexual identity into literature and history lessons and would be open to all students regardless of their sexual preference.

Gay rights advocates have argued that a gay high school would amount to segregation, and every high school throughout the city should work harder to cultivate acceptance.

Do you think "gay friendly" schools create tolerance or even more of a divide?

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34 comments so far | Post a comment now
Uly October 9, 2008, 2:18 PM

I remember this article from a few months ago. As I recall:

1. This school is open to all students - not just those who are GLBTQ.

2. No students will be required to go to this school if they do not want to.

3. They’re also working to decrease homophobia and bullying in the rest of the schools at the same time.

As I said then, I don’t really see how this is any different from a school that focuses on the arts, or that is harder for brighter students, or more supportive for poor students, or that teaches students a viable trade, or that focuses on one language such as Latin or Chinese or Spanish. Chicago no doubt has a *lot* of high school options so that students can go to the one that’s just the right fit for them.

Kate October 9, 2008, 2:19 PM

Duh! This is so backwards, it’s not even funny.

Jean October 9, 2008, 3:07 PM

So if this were a school for black kids, what would people think of that? Would *that* be segregation? Think about it.

Renee October 9, 2008, 3:19 PM

For a group of people who want to be viewed as “normal”, society sure chooses to make them stand out.

Mom's got a bullhorn and she calls bullsh*t October 9, 2008, 3:20 PM

Stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Will they make separate schools for kids who get bullied because they’re [insert reason your kid was bullied today].

G-ma October 9, 2008, 4:44 PM

Honestly this would be a lot better; kids no matter what you tell them are gonna bully and they’re gonna do what they want to do. The psycological stress of this and school (classes, relationships, and career plans) is way too much for kids to handle. This idea for a school is no different than a private school or an specifc art school.
Anything that would promote learning and lower bullying etc is worth a try.

a. October 9, 2008, 5:15 PM

if a school like this can reduce the amount of stress, dropouts, depression and suicidal thoughts in GLBT teens and allow them to get a good education without having to worry about being harassed—then how can it be anything but good? Every parent wants the best option for their kids, and for their kids to be safe and happy at school and to get a good education. If my kid was truly unhappy at a regular school and constantly getting harassed and living in fear of getting harassed, and this option was available to him, of course this would be an excellent choice!

Anony-moose October 9, 2008, 5:20 PM

I think I’m going to have to agree with Uly. There are private high schools for different arts, for gifted children, for different religious denominations, etc.

If an LGBT friendly high school can sustain itself with enough enrollment… why not? I guess the biggest issue is that it would be a public school paid for with taxpayer dollars.

I still think working to decrease homophobia in high schools should be the primary focus.

Ann October 10, 2008, 12:51 AM

I don’t agree with this at all. Segregation. Our school has a gay/straight alliance group. Promotes and talks about issues/biases/acceptance etc. Opens dialogue, etc.

Becca October 10, 2008, 7:58 AM

I don’t care if someone is gay or lesbian! However I don’t feel they need there own school! If the schools are wanting to teach tolerance it would seem to be more effective if they didn’t have their own school separating them from the normal public!Personally I think things like separate schools and allowing marriage teaches kids the wrong things before they are old enough to understand!Just like I believe marriage should not be allowed for religious reasons! Marriage being in most religions a union between a man and a female. However I could see doing civil unions! This being why I don’t believe in teaching children things like this until high school! This being when they should be able to more understand! I also believe they should not be given there own public schools even if any child can go to it! Like I said they can preach and teach tolerance better if they are not separated! Being separated actually will bread more intolerance and take them back 10 steps in their gay rights that they have been fighting for!

ky October 10, 2008, 8:04 AM

This is just illogical… everyone should be treated the same. And just think all of those people who made fun of that one gay person in high school now can just wait outside the doors of this soon to be high school and cause even more problems. People need to realize that no matter where you go to high school there are those that like to pick on others, its really not because they are gay, its because parents do not know how to teach their kids how to respect all people.

Dee October 10, 2008, 10:59 AM

Most kids don’t come out of the closet until they are out of high school. Because they are mostly hiding it from their family.

Anna October 10, 2008, 3:15 PM

Great idea, this will get all the gay teenagers in one place for some of the crazies to bomb and massacre. Plus it will make them feel way more normal.

Get real, everyone is bullied in school, be they Homosexual or Virtically challanged. If a kid is not bullied at least once in their life for being different in some way; then they are abnormal.

renee October 10, 2008, 9:20 PM

this IS segregation but if theses kids are safe and learning and WANT to go there then fine…if its forced then i have a problem

rebecca October 11, 2008, 10:35 PM

As a teacher, I think it is the school’s job to make sure ALL students are welcomed and NOT harrassed or bullied. It’s a tough fight, but that’s the fight we need to fight, not segregating students.

Michelle October 12, 2008, 12:04 AM

This doesn’t really seem like a good idea to me…..we abolished segregation for a reason….parents of disabled children fight to have them mainstreamed into public schools because this is where real life happens. It is unfortunate that kids are picked on for race, creed, sexual preference, etc but that’s what happens in the real world. If someone makes fun of you at work for being gay, your boss is not going to set you up in another building where people won’t hurt your feelings. As the parent of a disabled child in a public school I am well aware of the potential for my child to be made fun of…I hope that I have instilled in her enough respect and love for herself that stupid things that small minded people say won’t matter. I also activley encourage all my children to not pick on others for their differences and stand up for them when they are being harrassed. Anyway, I guess all I’m getting at is maybe we should be fighting for ALL people to be treated with respect and dignity….making or allowing them to hide tells the world and it’s children that persecution of any sort is okay. Just my opinion.

Joel October 13, 2008, 1:25 PM

I’m gay, and I never got “bullied” during high school… I think it’s just a waste of tax payers money.. y’all up north have too much time on ya hands.. Jewish Holiday? seriously? ya get the point. WTF!

Sherry October 13, 2008, 3:40 PM

The world is going to hell!!!! What ever happened to the Bible?!!!

dan October 13, 2008, 3:43 PM

Stop! It is a sexual preference, it is not a different gender, it is not a race of people, they are not smarter than the other students, it is not about being poor, this is not a teachable trade, and there is no language difference between gay and strait teens, this is a choice of sexual preference and nothing more. The job at hand for are schools is to create well rounded productive members of society. If this is ok, how about making a school for just athletes, or just for gothic teens, or like one of the other readers said, just black teens. Or even better lets change everything but us. Witch sounds like the only thing that needs to be changed. I know that there are bully’s out there and they all need to be put in their place. But lets not act like bullies are just in High School some of us have them at work and we all need to learn how to deal with them and segregation is not the way

Anonymous October 13, 2008, 4:28 PM

Tax money Should NOT pay for people’s sin. This is a horrible idea! This speaks to how far our society has reached into the depths of depravity. God help us for even suggesting such a thing.

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