In Kids & Family

More and more teens are "coming out" earlier than people did in the '70s, '80s and '90s.

Sound-off: Are gay-friendly schools necessary?

Recently, public school officials in Chicago requested approval for a "gay-friendly" high school because so many LGBT students miss or quit high school to avoid harassment and / or violence.

The proposed school would not reject "straight" students, but would ensure a welcoming and safe environment for gay and lesbian students.

The Milwaukee Alliance School is a charter high school that provides a safe environment for students that are not suceeding in traditional high schools because of harassment, bullying or abuse. Many of the students at the Alliance School identify themselves as LGBT.

What do you think about this idea? Sound-off, Milwaukee, about your thoughts on gay-friendly high schools.

Yes, Milwaukee needs to open a gay-friendly high school. Studies show that gay and lesbian students are three times as likely to cut class or drop out of high school, not because of academics, but because of harassment. At the very least, students need to feel safe at school, so they can learn enough to be a success in life. Knowledge is power, and minority kids -- all minority kids -- need both to succeed in a biased world.

No, this is not necessary. Lots of teens get picked on in high school for all different reasons, and most of the targeted kids don't get their own school because of it. Learning to deal with adversity is part of the adolescent experience, and allowing these kids to live inside a bubble isn't going to help them in the real world. Prejudice exists, and the sooner young people learn to deal with it, the stronger they will be in their adult life.

Talkbacks

onmkefan | Oct. 27, 2008 at 2:37 p.m. (report)

While tolerance and acceptance are seemingly more difficult to come by these days (especially in high school) forming gay friendly schools are not solving the problem. At best they will mask the problem and prolong finding a reasonable solution. There should be an emphasis on creating a safe, welcoming and tolerant environment where LGBT students can feel safe and comfortable. I can't recall any situation where "separate but equal" was a good idea.

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sas_tarr | Oct. 27, 2008 at 10:43 a.m. (report)

I guess each school must be safe environment to all students and harassing should be not acceptable. Out of a principle though, I'm ok with having a charter or private school for gay kids as long as it is financed the same way as any other school, getting not any more additional public funding than any normal charter school. And yes, goth kids may have their own charter school as well.

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rnzh102 | Oct. 27, 2008 at 10:19 a.m. (report)

This is just another example of trying to shelter today's youth from what the real world is. I think we just have all hetrosexual white males in one school, heterosexual females in one school, heterosexual black males in one school, heterosexual black females in one school.....ok, I can't even type anymore. See how insane that already sounds. Schools are supposed to mimic life in that school prepares children for what they will encounter during the rest of their life. Everyone deals with harrassment in adolescence. Many people who are successful in life were not the "popular", "cool", "stylish", "hip" kids in grade school or middle school or high school. It's how a person deals with these situations and grows from them that defines them. Putting people in a bubble will solve nothing and actually create more problems in the future. After all the advances that the gay community has made in the past 20 some years, do we really want to lock them back in the closet? Excuse me, "Offer them special scooling taylored to their specific needs so no one's feelings ever get hurt?"

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AverageGuy | Oct. 27, 2008 at 7:26 a.m. (report)

Really? Seriously? Why don't we have a school for all Goth kids? What about the Jocks? Unneccessary.

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InTheView | Oct. 26, 2008 at 10:39 p.m. (report)

I think creating a school for LGBT teens puts the children in danger. I agree that it would be nice to have one, and it would be great for kids to go somewhere that they feel that they can grow and be themselves, but I also would want some form of protection for these kids. As long as there's people who target the LGBT community, we can't just put a bit rainbow flag over the kids and say "Here's we are." I don't think this country as a whole is ready for the reality that LGBT is a normal and healthy lifestyle. There's a lot of suburban and rural communities, and a lot of right-wing christian communities that will never accept this. Having a LGBT focused school could lead to a greater danger when people like Fred Phelps will spend their days picketing these schools. Some christian communities still do turn militant. What starts as something that is good natured could turn into something that attracts unwanted attention.

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