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Thread: Chicago may get 'gay-friendly' high school (CNN.com)

  1. #1
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    Chicago may get 'gay-friendly' high school (CNN.com)

    [QUOTE][B][U]Chicago may get 'gay-friendly' high school[/U][/B]

    (CNN) -- Public school officials in Chicago, Illinois, are recommending approval of a "gay-friendly" high school because harassment and violence are causing gay students to skip class and drop out at alarming rates.

    The School for Social Justice Pride Campus, which officials say will not be exclusive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, is aimed at being safe and welcoming for any student looking for another school option, said Josh Edelman, executive officer in the Chicago Public Schools' Office of New Schools.

    "It is not going to be a 'gay high school,' but yes, in a way, it is meant to target kids who feel they have been victims of bullying for their sexual orientation or perceived orientation," Edelman said.

    Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan announced his recommendation Wednesday. Officials said Pride Campus would be separate physically but be attached administratively to the School for Social Justice.

    School officials said the standards and curriculum for the school would be in line with other schools in the district. The school would also offer counseling for students, though because of federal laws, officials cannot ask students about their sexual orientation. The curriculum would not rely on, but would incorporate lessons about, sexual identity in history and literature classes, officials said.

    "It's about creating another option for kids," Edelman said. "When it comes down to it, though, it is all about having a choice and providing high-quality options for students, whether they are gay or not."

    The school could be a lifeline for students who are struggling for academic success.
    iReport.com: Are you in a similar situation? Share your story

    Gay and lesbian students are three times more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe, according to a 2003 Chicago Public School District survey. And a study released Wednesday by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network showed similar trends across the country. Is this the best solution?

    The national study, which the group says is the most comprehensive report ever on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students nationwide, found that 86.2 percent of those students reported being verbally harassed, 44.1 percent physically harassed and 22.1 percent physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

    This harassment, the study concludes, has affected students' ability to achieve success in school, causing their grade-point level to be, on average, half a point lower than that of heterosexual students nationwide

    Dropout levels are higher among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students because of more frequent truancy, the study found. Almost 32 percent of those students missed a class because of feeling unsafe, compared with only 5.5 percent of heterosexual students nationwide, the study said.

    Truancy and lower grades aren't the only repercussions of anti-gay sentiments in schools, said Kevin Jennings, the founder and executive director of GLSEN. He cited the killing of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old student shot by a classmate in Oxnard, California, in February after King asked to be his valentine.

    Jennings said the repercussions of harassment alone underscore the need for Pride Campus.

    "If we keep doing nothing, we are going to keep getting these horrifying levels of harassment, greater rates of skipping, not going to college and more tragic violence like the murder of Lawrence King," he said. "Those are our choices. We can continue to do nothing, and we know the results, or we can save young people's lives and offer them an education and a future."

    A similar school in New York, the Harvey Milk High School in the East Village, was created because of similar fears.

    The school, which had been around since 1985, serving gay and lesbian students, expanded to a "gay-themed" school for 100 students in 2003. The Pride Campus is expected to serve 600 students, school officials said.

    Harvey Milk High School, like the Pride Campus, is open to all students regardless of sexual orientation. But unlike the proposed school in Chicago, Harvey Milk requires its attendees to be at risk of dropping out because of harassment.

    Harvey Milk boasts a graduation rate of 95 percent of its students -- all of whom were at risk of or had dropped out -- well above the city average of 52 percent.

    When the school opened its doors, protesters, led by anti-gay Kansas minister Fred Phelps, screamed at supporters gathered outside to repent for their "sodomite behavior."

    Edelman said that while some concerns have been raised about Pride Campus at community meetings, officials have not heard any large-scale opposition.

    One Chicago resident said at a meeting that he could not support the school because of his religious beliefs, Edelman said. Others told local media they didn't support the use of public money to create the school. Some thought that if gay students went to the Pride Campus, students in other schools would not learn to accept the gay community. Instead, they suggested, the focus should be working toward acceptance in all schools.

    "Absolutely, we should work for [acceptance] across the board," said Jennings, the GLSEN executive director. "But it's not going to change overnight, and in the meantime, these kids aren't going to graduate."

    Jennings said that GLSEN research shows acceptance among peers is helped by having a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender support group at school.

    The most important factor, according to the GLSEN study, is the existence of a state law that protects students from harassment based on their sexual orientation.

    Thirty-nine states, including Illinois and New York, do not have laws offering that specific protection, Jennings said citing the GLSEN study. Some have laws, but they don't specify on what basis the protections apply, which Jennings said was essentially as effective as having no law at all. California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin are the only states with specific sexual orientation protections for students.

    The Chicago School Board will vote October 22 to approve the School for Social Justice Pride Campus in addition to 17 other proposed schools.

    As far as Jennings is concerned, the school board's choice is an easy one.

    "The choice they are making is not should we have this kind of school," he said. "The question is 'Are we going to do anything we can to get these kids an education?' And there's only one right answer -- yes."[/QUOTE]

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Waterboy
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    Is modern segregation really the answer? Wouldn't it be better for society to punish the bullies and teach them to be more tolerant? In a way they are getting exactly what they want if all the gay kids go to a different school.

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    What's the entrance exam? How do you prove your gay enough to get into the school?

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2802765]Wouldn't it be better for society to punish the bullies and teach them to be more tolerant? [/QUOTE]

    America very rarely punishes bullies...in fact, they are rewarded a lot. Only in this country is it "cool" to get bad grades and be a general **** up, but "un-cool" to get straight A's, learn an instrument and participate in after school activities that don't involve a ball. In India and Japan it's very different...and we wonder why our kids are lagging behind their kids.

    My father always taught me "Don't **** with people...there is always someone bigger and badder than you are"....and in this day and age, sometimes they return to school packing heat.


    That being said....middle school and high school [I]girls[/I] are BRUTAL to each other. Unbelievable brutal. I saw some special on MSNBC about it was...I couldn't believe some of the crap I saw :eek:

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2802765]Is modern segregation really the answer? Wouldn't it be better for society to punish the bullies and teach them to be more tolerant? In a way they are getting exactly what they want if all the gay kids go to a different school.[/QUOTE]

    Hit it on the head. And PK pointed out my thoughts. There are bullies everywhere else but it seems here that when a school and a bully can agree on someone they do not like, in this case a gay person, then pounding them is ok. The mentality of "your type ain't welcome here" is still prevalent in many parts of the country. We live in a nation of where fear is power, and segregating is giving gay haters exactly what they want. I say Nay.

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    [QUOTE=vicious89x;2802802]Hit it on the head. And PK pointed out my thoughts. There are bullies everywhere else but it seems here that when a school and a bully can agree on someone they do not like, in this case a gay person, then pounding them is ok. The mentality of "your type ain't welcome here" is still prevalent in many parts of the country. We live in a nation of where fear is power, and segregating is giving gay haters exactly what they want. I say Nay.[/QUOTE]

    That's true. It would only be a matter of time before one group of gays in the school started picking on another group of gays in the school. Then what are we going to do?

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    [QUOTE=Roger Vick;2802813]That's true. It would only be a matter of time before one group of gays in the school started picking on another group of gays in the school. Then what are we going to do?[/QUOTE]

    Can't tell if you're trying to be funny but quite honestly. I'm sure there would be some sort of "gay bully" in the school... I do think the whole point is though that the thought is that if segregated it would prevent discrimination from a straight person. I think the idea is dumb but see the point. Like I said... there are bullies everywhere.

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    as soon as it becomes evident that the gay school is nicer than the regular school, will kids start pretending to be gay?

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    [QUOTE=vicious89x;2802822]Can't tell if you're trying to be funny but quite honestly. I'm sure there would be some sort of "gay bully" in the school... I do think the whole point is though that the thought is that if segregated it would prevent discrimination from a straight person. I think the idea is dumb but see the point. Like I said... there are bullies everywhere.[/QUOTE]

    No, I wasn't trying to be funny. I was simply using a rhetorical question to further your point.

    I'm all for gay schools. I'm all for black schools, white schools, boy schools, girl schools...any type of segregation people want to impose. As long as they are up front about what they are, and they are 100% privately funded.

    If a school accepts any public funding whatsoever, however, it needs to be fully integrated. IMO.

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    [QUOTE=Roger Vick;2802839]No, I wasn't trying to be funny. I was simply using a rhetorical question to further your point.

    I'm all for gay schools. I'm all for black schools, white schools, boy schools, girl schools...any type of segregation people want to impose. As long as they are up front about what they are, and they are 100% privately funded.

    If a school accepts any public funding whatsoever, however, it needs to be fully integrated. IMO.[/QUOTE]

    Agreed, and as paulie said, I think this is on the schools to more severely punish bullies. Not just for "gay discrimination" but for everything, teach them that being a bonehead isn't cool once your past 18 cause then you go to jail.

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    [QUOTE=Roger Vick;2802790]What's the entrance exam? How do you prove your gay enough to get into the school?[/QUOTE]

    [B]ENTRANCE exam?[/B]:eek2:

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    [QUOTE=vicious89x;2802841]Agreed, and as paulie said, I think this is on the schools to more severely punish bullies. Not just for "gay discrimination" but for everything, teach them that being a bonehead isn't cool once your past 18 cause then you go to jail.[/QUOTE]

    Just to clarify I do not think that there should be some separate "gay" school to protect gay students from discrimination, but I do have a question for everyone who thinks the bullies should be punished more severely.

    How does the school, a publicly funded enterprise, truly battle this discrimination.

    I know from past experience, when I was a student, that my school had not only an assembly of the student body to discuss any sort of issue along the lines of epidemic violence towards one group of kids. Students parents would also be advised of what is going on with little flash cards on topics to discuss with their children.

    Simply punishing the bullies, if the issue was as they say, with students dropping out due to discrimination from other students would not be enough to solve the problem. The school would actively have to make sure that the environment is one that is promotes acceptance and tolerance towards the gay students.

    To me, homosexuality is different from any other discrimination problem a school could experience within its student body, because unlike Blacks or women, Gays are not accepted by all people.

    The school can say, "you have to respect the rights of women" and most parents would agree, but as a "government institution" can they advocate the gay lifestyle as publicly? I don't know if they can without some sort of backlash from the town and from outsiders who may hold the opinion that the school is trying to indoctrinate the students into accepting gays.

    Think of how sex education alone is such a catalyst alone for heated debate.

    So, how else can the school system address issues pertaining to gay students without appearing to advocate the gay lifestyle?
    Last edited by piney; 10-13-2008 at 12:27 PM.

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    [QUOTE=piney;2802879]
    So, how else can the school system address issues pertaining to gay students without appearing to advocate the gay lifestyle?[/QUOTE]

    I think we can agree that students trying to beat the gay out of other students is an educational roadblock.

    here's my problem we can segregate special needs students, bright and talented, bilingual, handicapped by pretty clear defined lines

    I don't know that a teenager's sexual orientation is that well defined at that stage of the game, and if it is maybe those kids should be in a different school.

    But the separating isn't what scares me it's the "entrance" exam. It's a joke but seriously who exactly is making the call that little johnny is just not gay enough to go to gay school, and why should we trust that person?

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;2802946]I think we can agree that students trying to beat the gay out of other students is an educational roadblock.

    here's my problem we can segregate special needs students, bright and talented, bilingual, handicapped by pretty clear defined lines

    I don't know that a teenager's sexual orientation is that well defined at that stage of the game, and if it is maybe those kids should be in a different school.

    But the separating isn't what scares me it's the "entrance" exam. It's a joke but seriously who exactly is making the call that little johnny is just not gay enough to go to gay school, and why should we trust that person?[/QUOTE]

    well, I think an entrance exam idea is far-fetched, it would be a situation where people could voluntarily enroll.

    Sort of a "here is your option, do you want it." not "you flaming homo, go here."

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2802765]Is modern segregation really the answer? Wouldn't it be better for society to punish the bullies and teach them to be more tolerant? In a way they are getting exactly what they want if all the gay kids go to a different school.[/QUOTE]

    Agree 100% Paulie.

    The goal should be to make this a non-issue. Separating these kids only amplifies their differences.

  16. #16
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    Old news. :zzz:

    The public have been "milked" for this concept for years

    [URL]http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/07/28/gay.school.ap/index.html[/URL]

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2802765]Is modern segregation really the answer? Wouldn't it be better for society to punish the bullies and teach them to be more tolerant? In a way they are getting exactly what they want if all the gay kids go to a different school.[/QUOTE]Lol, why not just lock up anyone who disagrees with homosexuality? That would teach the country some tolerance, wouldn't it?

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    This is a tired concept. If you segregate people, those who created the bad condition thrive. The gay kids go to "that" school and "us", the "normal people," go to "this school." It creates thicker boundaries.

    Here is an easy solution that will never, ever be implemented. For good reason.

    In my father's and grandfather's day, there was a boxing ring in one of the side rooms of the gym. Two kids who have a complaint meet after school, get the gloves on, and duke it out. If I were a principal on some other planet with different concerns than ours, people could either take on a bully with boxing gloves on or elect someone to do it in their place. This happened all the time at my dad's school and at my grandfather's school.

    As far as what to do with girls (as another poster mentioned), the jury is still out. Girls are vicious to each other socially. They backstab and spread lies. Sadly this continues through college and beyond. This is only reinforced by half of the "teen sit coms" on the disney channel. We wonder where girls learn this as we flip by the disney channel en route to the NFL Network. Just like grown women and Sex in the City. Deviousness, deceit, dishonesty, and the importance of appearances are impressed upon women in this manner, most harmfully in the formative years.

    Now that I am squarely 3,000 miles off topic, who's watching the Giants tonight? :rolleyes: :D

    Please disregard this post if it seems too assinine. I've had a loooong day.

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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2802759]Thoughts?[/QUOTE]

    Taxth payerth money well thpent.

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