A Dallas private school for gay and lesbian students won't be holding classes this fall. Instead, officials at the Walt Whitman Community School say they'll spend the next 10 months seeking accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The association is the standard accrediting authority for colleges and universities in 11 Southern states. The struggling school had been the subject of a documentary on MTV earlier this year, which spurred a surge of student applications. But the lack of accreditation has meant a Whitman diploma was meaningless.
Karen McCrocklin, a member of the school's board of directors, says the school has issued general equivalency diplomas--or GEDs--good only for getting students into junior colleges. She says school officials will focus on meeting the Southern Association's requirements. Walt Whitman is one of the nation's few schools established specifically to educate gay and lesbian teens. This fall New York City will open the nation's first public high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students.