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Old 10-15-2008, 03:59 AM   #16
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These are just the side costs from all those faith based projects.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:38 PM   #17
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Personally, I think it's probably a good idea - there are issues with gay children that hetero children don't have to face: especially if they get transgendered children in there. It's unbelievably stressful to grow up 'different' even if nobody's bothered about it. I once worked with a kid who's transgendered. Nobody at the workplace gave a shit about that, especially since all but two of my fellow workers were in same-sex relationships, and the two who weren't weren't at all adverse to it, but the kid had all manner of issues with his parents. Fortunately for him, he got great support from the rest of us, even down to having a home to go to when his mother kicked him out. But anyway, I think, on that level, having a school that's geared towards kids who aren't hetero (or percieved to not be; we all know how supermacho boys are expected to be here in the US of A at times) might be beneficial to those kids. They get to be in an environment that allows them to work things out with the reasonable expectation of safety to explore their issues that crop up with being who they are.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:57 PM   #18
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i think i'd much rather make public schools more inclusive and gay friendly than admitting it's a lost cause and creating a whole other school. there is plenty that schools can do to address the real needs of gay students -- in the way that they might address the needs of black students or jewish students or whatever -- without removing them because i think straight people are the solution, actually, and not the problem. much like white students benefit most from diverse environments, it's straight people who benefit most from inclusive environments. diversity is a fact of life, so best to learn how to deal with it rather than pretend that life can remain so segregated.

i also think that magnate schools might be a way to address this -- i can't imagine that, say, a high school that focuses on the arts won't be a safer place for gay teenagers.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:08 PM   #19
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The fact that gay-friendly schools are seen as "necessary" are a damning indictment of the failure of the public school system to address basic levels of professionalism. We would not tolerate bullies or management refusing to protect and defend all of their employees in the workplace, so why do we permit them in schools? If teachers and school administrators don't want to protect all of their students from harrassment, then maybe they should be unceremoniously fired.
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:36 PM   #20
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The fact that gay-friendly schools are seen as "necessary" are a damning indictment of the failure of the public school system to address basic levels of professionalism. We would not tolerate bullies or management refusing to protect and defend all of their employees in the workplace, so why do we permit them in schools? If teachers and school administrators don't want to protect all of their students from harrassment, then maybe they should be unceremoniously fired.
For once we agree on an educational thing.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:24 AM   #21
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Just prolongs the problem.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:35 PM   #22
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The fact that gay-friendly schools are seen as "necessary" are a damning indictment of the failure of the public school system to address basic levels of professionalism. We would not tolerate bullies or management refusing to protect and defend all of their employees in the workplace, so why do we permit them in schools?
I would like to agree with this. In principle I do agree with it. I'm just not sure whether it's immediately feasible enough to end the bullying altogether to make gambling these kids' academic futures on it the best solution. Under what circumstances is most of this bullying occurring? Are teachers and administrators even aware of most of these incidents when they happen? I remember lots of fairly ugly social stuff going on at both the high schools I attended that none of the adults had more than (at most) vague inklings about, and where realistically it wouldn't have made sense to expect them to know more, because so much of the bullying happened out of sight and earshot of any teacher. Things like text messaging and MySpace only make that easier. Plus there's a limit to what teachers' or administrators' interventions can do to make being stigmatized something a given teenager can cope with successfully.
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there is plenty that schools can do to address the real needs of gay students -- in the way that they might address the needs of black students or jewish students or whatever -- without removing them because i think straight people are the solution, actually, and not the problem.
I understand the analogy, but in the places where racism was at its worst, successful social integration of black students into formerly all-white public schools took more than a decade (some would dispute whether it "successfully" happened at all), and coincided with dramatic broader-scale social and political integration outside of schools as well. You know from Memphis' experience about the whites-only "academies" that rapidly sprang up in the Deep South in the wake of mandatory desegregation. In the late '70s-mid '80s when I was in grade school, there were only a handful of white students at the school, certainly less than their proportions in the local population, because most of the white parents who could afford it sent their kids to the nearest "academy" in a neighboring county. In areas of Mississippi where African-Americans were a small minority, many black students found themselves entirely cold-shouldered by their new white classmates--but that was still a better deal than the resource-starved springboard to nowhere that was the former all-black public schools. I don't know that you can really compare either what preceded, nor the broader social transformations accompanying the change, in racial desegregation of schools to gay students' present situation.

I certainly agree there are things schools can do to help--and much of it would need to happen long before high school, at the grade school level--I'm just not sure I can fault the Chicago school system for feeling that at least in the short-term, it's going to take more than awareness-raising curriculums and enhanced policing of students (or do you have other ideas?) to ensure they can sharply reduce the attrition of gay students through truancy and dropping out now.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:07 PM   #23
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They don't want to, they are forced to get one. Hence, the point of the discussion is much more about whether it is acceptable in this day and age that a group of people for any reason needs its own school in order to not being harassed and mobbed out of class by pathetic individuals.
That is not necessarily the whole story. For example, to be blunt, some gay adults encourage ghettoisation and would prefer to bring their foster kids up in a gays-only environment. Perhaps there is a middle ground, or perhaps some middle aged gay people in places like San Francisco have not realized that the world has changed?

Boy George has, to his credit, criticised the tendency of some gay people to create exclusionary gay-only communities.

While all forms of homophobia should be condemned - and I realise I am not making myself popular by pointing this out - the 'gay ghetto' tendency is also up for criticism.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:08 PM   #24
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without removing them because i think straight people are the solution, actually, and not the problem. much like white students benefit most from diverse environments, it's straight people who benefit most from inclusive environments. diversity is a fact of life, so best to learn how to deal with it rather than pretend that life can remain so segregated.
I agree with this.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:22 PM   #25
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As long as the Gay High School has all the same programs and curriculum.

the gay students get the same education (with their own kind)

they are "separate" but "equal".
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:53 PM   #26
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That is not necessarily the whole story. For example, to be blunt, some gay adults encourage ghettoisation and would prefer to bring their foster kids up in a gays-only environment. Perhaps there is a middle ground, or perhaps some middle aged gay people in places like San Francisco have not realized that the world has changed?

Boy George has, to his credit, criticised the tendency of some gay people to create exclusionary gay-only communities.

While all forms of homophobia should be condemned - and I realise I am not making myself popular by pointing this out - the 'gay ghetto' tendency is also up for criticism.

well ... the "gay ghetto" is more to do with the fact that, yes, most gays (particularly men) would move to cities in order to be near other gays, but the ghetto phenomenon really has more to do with the fact that gays (and men in particular) had the capital and the lack of worries about, say, good schools, to move into formerly great, downtrodden neighborhoods and, somewhat literally, to redecorate. Dupont Circle, The West Village, West Hollywood, South Beach -- all these had fallen into shambles by the 1970s, and corresponding with the growth of a visible and out gay community, began their rebirth in the 1980s and 1990s. further, gays tend to be very good urban citizens -- they go to the theater, to restaurants, to local bookstores, and they have a vested interest in reducing crime in their neighborhoods. and, again, a childless gay male couple, say, will have the capital to support such things and won't choose to move to the suburbs because they likely don't have a child that might necessitate a yard and a passable school district. in the 1980s, you wouldn't have straights moving to the gay ghettos, sometimes because of crimes other times because it was gay, but by the 1990s, when everyone realized that, gay or not, Dupont Circle was by far the best urban neighborhood in WDC, people with money began to move in. you started to see strollers. and then the chain stores followed (and the beat goes on and on).

as for myself, a good 85% of my friends are straight, but that might be because, 1) i'm young, and 2) i'm young. i never grew up in a strictly bifurcated world like men of Boy George's age, and most of my straight friends don't yet have children. perhaps in 10 years if they've all moved to the suburbs maybe 85% of my friends will be gay, but i guess i don't really think so. i think it's normal and natural for a gay person to want gay friends -- i do say to Memphis, all the time, "we need more gay friends" -- and that's because i do have this fear that all my straight friends will suddenly start to become either too overwhelmed with their future kids to be social, or all their friends will be the parents of their children's friends.

what is interesting, however, is that i have spent a good deal of time in lesbian-centric northampton, ma, and my friends will say that they will go days without seeing or interacting with any men.

i do wonder how much of this is gays choosing gay friendly areas, and how much of it is straights running away from gay friendly areas.

though i think if i were straight, i'd want a gay friendly area. kind of in the way that many parents (and i've heard this from their own mouths) will look for suburbs with a sizable Jewish community. a gay-friendly area is going to be very arts friendly, and a noticeably Jewish community is going to have a strong public school system. stereotypes to be sure, but more often true than not.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:15 PM   #27
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a perspective from a right-leaning gay site:


Quote:
A Gay-Supportive School?

by Paul Varnell

Published the Chicago Free Press on Sept. 24, 2008.

As part of the Chicago Public Schools' "Renaissance 2010" initiative, the High School for Social Justice submitted a proposal to the Office of New Schools for a new gay-inclusive Pride Campus, which would provide college prep education for Chicago students.

Chicago Public Schools held a "community forum" at the gay community center last week, giving a little, but not much, information about the proposal, but emphasizing that the school was not just for gay students but for all students—but for gay (GLBT) students too.

The proposal is rooted in the deplorable fact that many gay students do not feel safe at their present high schools. They are harassed and intimidated by some of the other students and they want a learning environment where they feel safe and can concentrate on their studies. It is hard to focus on solid geometry or the Civil War when you are worried about being beaten up between classes or after school. Instead some students just drop out, which benefits no one.

What the experience of gay students reveals is that many schools in the Chicago system do a lousy job of providing a safe learning environment, of keeping their students disciplined, of teaching them tolerance of other students.

In many schools teachers have their hands full trying to keep order in the classroom, much less teach a few facts. Some "students" read comic books in study halls. One former teacher told me that teaching at her school amounted to nothing more than "baby-sitting." And many counselors and administrators are simply uninformed and unsympathetic to gay students. I would no more have gone to a high school counselor for advice than I would have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Two decades ago the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force at the initiative of its sainted director Al Wardell, himself a Chicago teacher, prepared and mailed to high school counselors a packet of information about gay youth along with a poster they could display that read, "Your counselor has information on gay issues."

Several weeks later Wardell called a large number of counselors to find out what they had done with the information. Only one-third said they had put up the poster. One-third said they had glanced at the material but not put up the poster. And about a third said they had thrown the whole packet away. Have things really gotten much better? I doubt it.

So as a stopgap measure until other Chicago schools learn to do their job adequately, the proposal deserves support, at least once it is unpacked a little more for public (our) inspection. The idea is not new, of course. New York already has Harvey Milk High School, and Chicago's initiative may encourage other cities to take similar measures—once they face up to the fact that they have gay students and need to do something to protect them.

No doubt, too, many closeted gay teachers, and they are numerous, would be delighted to teach at a gay-inclusive school where they do not have to hide their orientation. Openly gay teachers can provide empathetic advice to gay students and serve as important role models for students, many of whom probably know no gay adults and have difficulty separating out issues of sexuality and gender in their lives.

But perhaps providing safety is not quite enough. The schools would do a service to gay students by teaching coping skills. Many of us have learned those with some pain and difficulty during our lifetime and would have been glad to know of them when we were young. And what might really be useful would be voluntary, after-school classes in martial arts—judo, kick-boxing, etc., to help students protect themselves after school when they return to their own neighborhood. Knowledge of such skills would also boost their self-confidence.

And what should other Chicago schools be doing besides off-loading their gay students so they do not have to deal with them? Well, only a small minority of gay students are going to be able to go to the new school. Pity those who remain behind. Schools should help by undertaking serious educational efforts about gays and minority-gendered students. They should require history and social studies units on gays and gay history. They should host gay speakers at assemblies on gay holidays. They could foster Gay/Straight Alliances instead of opposing them. They should beef up security at schools and on school buses. They should require "in-service" programs about gays for teachers, counselors and administrators.

Administrators too? You bet. I know of one suburban principal who referred to an openly gay teacher derisively as "fag boy." Nice teaching environment!
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:19 PM   #28
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I would no more have gone to a high school counselor for advice than I would have gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Unfortunately I think this describes the majority of high school students, period, not just gay students. Teenagers tend to only trust adults they know, and if they do wind up seeking out an adult at school for personal advice, it's most likely going to be a teacher or coach they studied or trained with who gained their trust in that context. Of course, if the teachers and coaches themselves have some rapport with the counselor and understand well what services s/he offers (I do like the idea of "in service programs"), they're probably more likely to effectively facilitate students turning to the counselor as an expert resource when they need it.

I did a little reading about the Harvey Milk High School in NYC...about 80% of its roughly 100 students are free or reduced-price lunch eligible, 95% of them are nonwhite, and they must have either dropped out or been designated at high risk of dropping out at their prior schools to qualify for admission. So it sounds like most of their students are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, in addition to having been bullied at their former schools as gay students. (They can't, of course, legally require students to reveal their sexual orientations; however, since they obviously do present themselves as specifically being a gay-friendly school for students at risk of dropping out, presumably the overwhelming majority of their students are gay or lesbian.) Their graduation rate, however, is only about 35% (if you check the NYC schools website, the 95% figure unfortunately now being reported in many articles is b.s., derived by only looking at how many current seniors made it through to graduation during one school year). That's a disappointing figure, then again, considering how few of their students would likely have graduated at all at their prior schools, I suppose it's nonetheless an improvement. I'd imagine the proposed Chicago school, if established, would likely have broadly similar demographics.
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Old 10-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #29
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While I do agree that the turn around and shake up of the public high school system is not going to happen overnight, I feel that having a gay friendly school is just a band aid solution. Every school needs to teach that tolerance is the only way to go. And have 0 tolerance with any violence or suggestive threatening to anyone. But i don't believe this is just a gay problem. People are picked on a school all the time. My friend who had red curl hair was called 'Ronald' for 6 years. It cut her up in the beginning but by the end she realised (like a lot of us realised) that high school is its own little world and most of the time you let small petty things become your whole world.
Kids need to learn that they control their life. I am obviously not talking about more serious cases, but I think that we are never going to live in a world where teenagers are going to be accepting of every different thing they see, and we need to teach teenagers that its great to be different and to not give a shit about what others say.
I know, its easier said and done, but if the school system is going to change, we have got to get in a say these are the high priorities lets fix these problems first.
Also what are the statistics of hetro dropouts? Are they as high as gay dropouts? Because i thought that was a big problem too, with the amount of dropouts and kids coming to school just to mess around.
I think every school should be gay friendly!
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:30 PM   #30
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http://www.article8.org/docs/news_ev...2105/index.htm

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