Gay High School in Chicago? Chicago Public Schools Looking at the Possibility

New York City  created the nation’s first public high school for gays, bisexuals and transgender students.  The Harvey Milk High School initially enrolled about 100 students and opened in 2003.

Now, Chicago school officials are considering a plan to create a separate high school for LGBT students, but the proposal is not without its detractors – both outside and within the gay community.

Some LGBT advocates hail the idea, but others warn the school would isolate gay students.

Conservatives call the proposal a waste of taxpayer money. – Of course they do!

The plan must still undergo a series of public hearings – the first will take place this month. A community hearing will be held Sept. 18 at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. 6pm – 8pm. There, the public can learn more about the proposed school. It then would require approval by a Chicago Public Schools  evaluation team with the final decision up to the head of the school system.

Bill Greaves, director and community liaison of the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on LGBT Issues and a member of the proposed school’s design team, told Windy City Times that the community forum will be the “last hurdle” in the process. The CPS Office of New Schools has already twice interviewed the design team, made up of veteran teachers and administrators, a member of About Face Theater, CPS Office of Student Development staff and others. On Aug. 26, the delegate principal, Chad Weiden ( the current assistant principal at the Greater Lawndale Little Village School for Social Justice ) , was interviewed.

A 2006 report by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) found that 35 percent of Illinois students reported that sexual orientation is the most common reason students are harassed or bullied at school. Nearly the same number of Illinois students said the same for gender identity.

The earliest it could be up and running would be 2010.

The Best of Gay Chicago and the New Gay Travel Guide

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