Chicago Pride Campus Goes Before Community Forum

A proposed LGBTIQA school in Chicago goes before the local community forum this week in the last step towards a possible approval by the Chicago Public Schools board. The high school proposed this spring by the Greater Lawndale Little Village School for Social Justice would be called the Pride Campus. The Social Justice High School- Pride Campus, if approved, would offer college prep courses in all subject areas and would open in time for the 2010/11 school year.

The CPS Office of New Schools has already gone through the process of interviewing a design team made up of veteran teachers, administrators, a member of the About Face Theater, and dozens of others involved in this projected. The delegated principle, Chad Weiden of the proposing school, was interviewed this passed August.

Currently, the design team is scouting a location. They are hoping to build the school in a centralized location to make it easier for students to reach.

The proposing team believes that it is a necessary option for the LGBTIQ youths in the school system and their allies given the often hostile atmosphere that permeates the current school environment. They do not, however, feel that it should be the only option, and certainly desire to put an end to prejudice inside the schools. However, two years ago, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that roughly thirty-five percent of all Illinois students reported that sexual and gender identity was a common reason students were harassed and bullied. Over three-quarters of the students replied that they had heard homophobic comments made by their class mates.

Many LGBTIQ students in the area have reported that the toxic attitudes from others at school often caused them to miss school, drop out, and even contemplate suicide. Too many of the students reported far more violence against their person or belongings in far greater numbers than did heterosexual students in their classes.

The benefits of creating such a school, the second in the country after New York’s Harvey Milk High School, would be the creation of a positive, hate free environment where students can learn among those who will neither judge them nor bully them. There are concerns about a growing ghettoization among the LGBTIQ community. By not interacting with their fellows, it is reasoned, others cannot learn to accept the sexual and gender identity differences in others, and that it could become a form of segregation. A large number of people in the LGBTIQ community have mixed feelings concerning the creation of schools like the Pride Campus or Harvey Milk HS.

On this subject, we would like to hear your comments regarding the creation of this and other schools directed towards the LGBTIQ community.

One Note, the original article refered to the LGBTQA or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, questioning, and allied community.

Original article: Edge on the net


Moria said...

While I acknowledge the potential for this to become an isolationist or segregated school -- I also think it would be very interesting to see a community of LGBTQ teens together. I know I could have named all the other LGBTQ teens I knew when I was in high school on one hand, and it would have released so much anxiety, I think, to know I wasn't so alone. This could become a social network much like this and other websites provide, only in person. Of course, maintaining the academic integrity of the school must be the first priority -- school has to include academic learning alongside the social learning in order to be considered legitimate.

Sei said...


I think a lot of us are ambivilent about this. I know I certainly am, and mostly for the same reason as you.

Anonymous said...

i think organized segregation is still segregation. though at times necessary for the safety and educational maximization of LGBTQ teens and their allies, though its a dangerous comparison to make, lest i be called a racist, lets not forget that segregation in schools ended by black students boldly marching into white schools and demanding equality. this is what we as the adult LGBTQ community is doing, sadly, our teen proteges must bare the brunt of hate and danger even without parental support or a community to support them. perhaps the money spent on a building a separate school should be spent on educating the populations of current schools and implementing school support groups for these kids. learning should come first at educational facilities, i believe learning about diversity is just as if not more than important that history and math.

Ma'amselle Lezident said...

Out here in California, we call those kinds of schools "performing arts magnets."

Kidding . . .

Paula Brooks said...

I think this is called separate but equal...

Kind of like "White Only" and "Colored Only" drinking fountains.