Monday, March 9, 2015

Is Pride School Atlanta Another Form of Segregation?

I recently read that Atlanta was going to create the region's first non-profit school for LGBTQQIA educators, students and families.  Called Pride School Atlanta, it would cater to pre-K to 8 students. Pride Atlanta, a private school, is still raising money in hopes for opening its doors, in town on Piedmont Road, for the 2015-6 academic year.

The school is the brainchild of Christian Zsilavetz, 44, a transgender teacher who is also certified by GLSEN (Gay, Straight, Lesbian Education Network). Says Zeilavetz, a married father of two, " I want a place where queer and trans families can bring their kids and not have to worry about being the token lesbian or token gay family."

The School of Hard Knocks

Recently, GLSEN reported that 56% of LGBT students have faced discriminatory practices and policies at school.  Every student deserves a safe environment in which to learn.  It is harder to learn when you hear homophobic remarks daily.

I recall times when my son, a middle school student, was being harassed and called a "faggot." He complained to his guidance counselor who "fixed" the problem, at least temporarily.  Not all school professionals do!  When he was a local high school student, he was teased less, but refused to join a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) for fear of divulging his true identity.  When he was bullied, his girlfriends protected him.

Harvey Milk High School

When the nation's first public high school for gay, transgender, and lesbian youth in New York City opened its doors in 1985, taxpayers groused about monies going to such a small public school.  At that time, it was a non-diploma-granting institution.  By 2001, it became an accredited four year diploma-granting high school.  Since then, it has been renovated and expanded, thus proving the need for such an exclusive school.

Pride School Atlanta.  Is It Separate But Equal?

Are private schools for LGBTIQ families considered segregation?  They are for minority groups.  According to the Centers for Disease Control's National Health Information Survey, people claiming to be LGBTQ make up less than 5% of America.  Do they really need their own school?

Will Pride School Atlanta be life-saving or postpone the inevitable gay bashing that LGBTQUIA persons face in a society that's homophobic?  Wouldn't educating the public have a greater effect than harboring a few behind closed doors?

What do you think?  Do you condone establishing a special school specifically for students based on sexual orientation?

I'd like to hear your opinion.