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Chicago Mayor
Questions Need for Gay High School

Chicago Mayor
Questions Need for Gay High School

After the Chicago city council decided to prolong a vote on establishing an LGBT high school, Mayor Richard Daley has expressed his reservations about the plan.

After the Chicago city council decided to prolong a vote on establishing an LGBT high school, Mayor Richard Daley has expressed his reservations about the plan.

"You have to look at whether or not you isolate and segregate children," he said on Thursday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "A holistic approach has always been to have children of all different backgrounds in schools. When you start isolating children and you say, 'Only 50% here, 40% here' -- same thing we went through with the disabled -- then you want to do that when they're adults," Daley said.

Board of Education CEO Arne Duncan said he wants the School for Social Justice Pride Campus to open by 2010. The reason for the school, he said, is to provide a sovereign school for lesbian and gay students, who have a higher dropout rate than nongay students. Ninety percent of LGBT students said they have been harassed at school, while 61% say they don't feel safe, according to a survey of 6,000 LGBT youths by the Gay Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

Rick Garcia of Equality Illinois agrees with Daley, saying that schools should teach faculty, staff, and students about LGBT issues. Segregating students does not necessarily stop the bullying.

"It doesn't stop bullying at other schools. And if a kid is different and the object of scorn or bullying, instead of addressing it the teacher might say, 'Send him to Homo High,' " Garcia said.

He added, "Instead of a school for gay kids, maybe we need a school for the bullies. Gay kids are not the problem. Bullies and teachers and administrators who don't stop the bullying are the problem." (Michelle Garcia, The Advocate)

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