Chicago may get 'gay-friendly' high school

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Prof., Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Prof. macrumors 601

    Prof.

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    #1
    LINK

    Being gay myself, I think this is a horrible idea. First of all, it's segregation. Second, if they separate the gays from the straights, the straights will never learn to accept us (the gays) for who we are. They will never grow tolerant to us. I say NO!
     
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

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  3. iShater macrumors 604

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  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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  5. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Since it's not mandatory for all GLBTQ students to attend, I don't see it as an issue of segregation.

    It's interesting to note that the article mentions the increasing dropout rate and the bullying, but fails to mention that GLBTQ students have a high suicide rate. If the school serves to lower either the dropout or suicide rate, I think it's probably worth it.

    Prof., you raise an interesting point. However, I think becoming a "solider of awareness" (for lack of a better term) isn't something that every GLBTQ student is necessarily ready for at this stage of their lives.

    I wish that the system had taught each and every student the levels of acceptance and understanding to make this unneeded. That doesn't seem to be the case.

    If it keeps GLBTQ students from taking their lives or from a dropout's lifelong career of folding Perfect T's at the GAP, then I'm for it.
     
  6. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    High rates of gay teen suicide and high dropout rates are prompting this, but I don't think this is the way to go.

    It might be better to simply encourage the kids to work together in other after school programs and create an atmosphere that can foster better understanding. Add in some more counselors (and frankly, actually train them :rolleyes:) and gay teens will have a much easier time building relationships with those around them who might otherwise not like them around. The answer is definitely not to cart them off to a "safe zone" so that they can be largely ignored and forgotten by the rest of the student body.
     
  7. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

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    I agree, but I see this as another option. Again, this is an optional choice. Additionally, the way the school is orientated allows the students of the smaller schools to mingle in shared areas such as the library, courtyard and auditorium. So, GLBTQ students would be mingling with other groups, it's just that the teaching and administrative staff would be better training to handle problems specific to GLBTQ students.

    While I agree that the goal should ultimately be that all schools have the programs and the training necessary to address the needs and concerns of the entire student population, I see this as a good stop-gap measure until that goal is achieved.

    It's tricky. It's hard to know if individual GLBTQ students or small groups on campuses where the administration may be indifferent (or hostile) to their situation is the best way to make the general study body of that school more aware and accepting of the GLBTQ community, or if by giving GLBTQ students an optional place to thrive, come into their own and experience the diversity of their community is a better place to grow students that will eventually teach GLBTQ awareness to others, not only in high school but in college and throughout their lives.

    This campus might serve to create the role models that empower future GLBTQ youth and that alone may have a large effect on both the suicide and dropout rates.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    If this is the problem, the solution isn't a gay-friendly school; it's to find new administration.

    That's what's so galling, is that if the district really really wanted to, they could make it happen. But it's too politically painful, so they won't. They'll just use this bandaid to treat the symptom instead of the problem.
     
  9. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

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    #9
    But I think there's also potential for this bandaid to be a boon and provide a great deal of positive results. If they are successful in turning would-be suicides and dropouts into students that go onto college and into the workforce, the our community benefits from an increase in positive roll models for the youth of tomorrow.
     
  10. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    Sure it's an option, but is it a viable and good option?

    To say that separation is an alternative we would want to live with in this case is equating genocide as a means of population control: both achieve temporary short-term results, but in the end they are destructive for everyone involved.

    Teenagers are not the most rational of beings, and if given the chance to run from their problems, I'm sure many would gladly do so. However, that is not the way good character or relationships are built. We must all weather some storms in order to make it to the clear horizons ahead.
    Truth be told, it would be much easier for districts to simply train counselors in the needs of LGBT students and train teachers to be understanding and realistic when necessary. LGBT students aren't "special" in the sense that they need special supervision, equipment, tools, etc. They merely need additional help at some points in their high school careers because of problems created by the rigid structure of high school popularity and its ability to launch effective crusades against those who are different.
    If you agree on the end goal, why not advocate for that end goal?

    This stop-gap measure is nothing more than trying to shift the problem around rather than addressing its core.
    The best leaders don't arise from insulation (whether optional or not), but rather from learning to deal with conflicts and problems as they arise. Settling the sexuality of one's self is one of the toughest things one can do (trust me on that point), but sheltering one's self will in no way help that process. Instead, our perception of ourselves is most clear when we can contrast ourselves to those who are different. This school will be a disservice to the future leaders of the LGBT community.
    I doubt it. It will instead create a substantial number of students who don't deal with critical issues in high school, and instead face them in college.

    If there's one cardinal rule, it's that it's better to learn things from a younger age as opposed to an older age.

    If we had proper sex education in this country, this problem would already be largely addressed. But, as is perennially true of American politics, we'd prefer to shelve the problem for a later date (which is exactly what this school will do).
    So should we start putting black students together when they are in primarily white districts? What about girls and boys?

    At point do you draw the line and declare that separation is bad? What is it based on?
     
  11. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

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    And I'm sure that the students of this school will continue to face problems. It's just that high rates of suicide and dropout in GLBTQ youths clearly show have a surplus of character building problems to the point that they are making the wrong choices. If this school removes that additional burden and reduces suicide and dropout rates, those individuals at least have the opportunity go on to provide positive examples.

    For the same reason you are advocating additional counseling and not a total change in the social structure to end the rigid structure of high school popularity: things can be done on separate paths and in different sized steps to achieve an ultimate goal. I see this as a step towards that ultimate goal.

    If the campus were completely in isolation, I'd agree. But the campus is designed to have 5 smaller schools with shared areas. The Pride Campus students will have opportunities to mingle with students from Multicultural Arts, Math & Science, World Language and Social Justice schools. We aren't talking about a ghetto or concentration camp here.

    I think the diversity of the student population will provide them will many examples of contrast.

    I guess I'm being a tad optimistic in hoping the Pride school will attract a mix of students at differing phases of discovering who they are and that they will be able to help each other as a community.

    Additionally, I having an GLBTQ aware population will allow the students to better address issues they face outside of school. They will have the power of shared experience to draw from. This, in addition to age and the social differences between H.S. and college will have these students better prepared to deal with any issues they might face.

    Agreed 100%.

    Are you suggesting the immaturity of high school is now going to subject GLBTQ college students to the same taunting and violence they experience in the high schools? Even if that were true, at least a graduate from this campus would be better prepared to deal with such an event than a 14 or 15 year old.

    Separation is bad when it leads to an inequality that puts the previously disadvantaged group at an additional disadvantage. I don't see this school as creating an additional disadvantage.

    I understand it's not the choice for everyone, but I can certainly see why some GLBTQ students would choose this route. For me, it's about the end goal: positive visibility and equality.

    When some high school thug beats up a GLBTQ student, where's the positive role model for other GLBTQ youth? When that student drops out, where's the positive role model for other GLBTQ youth? When that student commits suicide, where's the positive role model for other GLBTQ youth?
     
  12. montanachad macrumors regular

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    This is a terrible waste of local government resources.
     
  13. Much Ado macrumors 68000

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  14. leekohler macrumors G5

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    Wow- not hard to see where you're coming from idealogically. From Montana and complete with Ayn Rand quote.

    That said, I posted about these schools some time ago and also had issues with them. But now that I've had some time to think, it's kind of not such a bad idea. When I think of what a lot of people like me have to go through, it makes sense. Kids are in school to learn, not to constantly have to defend themselves. The sheer amount of gay kids who commit suicide due to harassment is horrifying, not to mention the amount of homeless gay kids I see on the street. We can wring our hands all we like about how kids need to toughen up and deal with the real world, but I'd rather have them alive than dead. Let them learn about the real world in college.

    Until society grows up, this might be a very good short-term answer. No- I don't think it's a good long-term solution, but in the interim it might be the only one.
     
  15. OutThere macrumors 603

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    This philosophy is responsible for nearly everything negative the American public associates with college students.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

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    No offense, but you haven't seen what I've seen. No one is making anyone go to this school, but it will be there if need be.
     
  17. Prof. thread starter macrumors 601

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    #17
    What about the kids who aren't 'out' yet but still get picked on? How do they tell their parents they want to go to an all-gay school?
     
  18. leekohler macrumors G5

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    #18
    It's not an all gay school, Prof. If it were, I'd be firmly against it. It's meant to be there for kids who might absolutely need it.
     
  19. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    I still question the premise that this is the way to go, even if only a stop-gap.

    Even if it did achieve the results you expect (which I question, but we can defer that point since neither one of us can actually prove it), it would be for all the wrong reasons.

    Time and time again we've seen that special treatment doesn't work. What does work is equal treatment. If the School Board merely did its job correctly and trained staff/admins to be mindful of the issue, then the problem would largely be self correcting.
    Again, I take issue with the method, not the desired goal.

    I fear that this idea will simply foster an idea of separation rather than integration and understanding. While it might be successful in the short term, its long term consequences could be much graver. Instead it would be more prudent to train counselors or make other adjustments as needed in existing schools.

    I hate to draw this parallel, but think of using bussing for school integration in the 60s and 70s. In the end all it did was engender further white flight and leave schools more uneven in race than before.
    Sure they'll have opportunities to mingle, but will they?

    What makes us assume that gay students would willingly put themselves in constant contact with groups they are afraid of being harrassed by?

    What makes us think that straight students will mingle if given an "opportunity?"

    I think this school highlights the differences, rather than the similarities between gay and straight students. If you encourage students to be forced together and invest on uniting them through their common needs, they will automatically work better together and be willing to accept those around them despite their differences.

    Create a "special" school just for one group, and you create an atmosphere that will only lead to more cleavages.

    This isn't how you achieve that result. People learn the most when they are able to make a personal connection with someone who is different from them. If all gay and straight students went to the same high school, there would be friendships formed and previous schemas would be challenged very rapidly. By allowing students to mingle when they feel comfortable and creating a "haven," you make it optional for students to get a feel for the LGBT community around them because they can ignore it.

    I have only one answer to that question, and althought it represents the extreme, I hope you understand how I view the potential dangers here: Matthew Shepard.
    The simple fact is, NO 14 or 15 year old should have to face harrasment. If a school is letting its students get beat up on a consistent basis, it is failing. Regardless of the sexual orientation of a student, the school should be encouraging a non-violent environment. Do that, and the battle is already half won. Fail to do that, and you'll never win.

    I do. It creates a disadvantage for all the straight students who won't get to make gay friends the same way as they make straight friends. The converse is also true, which in effect means that this school will add friction to the social structure of teenagehood.

    This school makes sexual orientation a novelty (oh, she goes to that school) rather than a common place thing, which is what we should be striving for.
    I can see why any LGBT student would take this route. It's easy, it's safe, and it means they won't have to deal with some issues until much later.

    That's not how we grow as individuals. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to become better people, and a part of that is learning how to deal with friends and bigots alike.
    For me it's about the ends and the means. The right result borne out of entirely the wrong reasons is nearly as destructive as the wrong result borne out of wrong reasons because it allows us to make the same mistake again and we build false reasoning and philosophy into our social discourse.
    Again, no student should be beat up. If one is, we should first examine where the positive role model is for anyone, not just the LGBT student.
    The positive role model is found when the school principal says that there is a zero tolerance policy for violence, when parents come together and say that they don't want their children to kill themselves for any reason, not just sexual orientation.

    LGBT students are under assault not from a system that is working agains them, but rather from a system that works against the dignity of the individual. Solve those problems, and you will help more than just the LGBT community.
    Prof's point still stands though. It is going to be known as the "gay school," so how would a student go about asking their parents to transfer there? If they are afraid of their parents, then this school really doesn't do much.
     
  20. Queso macrumors G4

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    It would be far better if the entire city of Chicago forced teachers to crack down on the bullying of LGBT pupils (or those suspected by their peers of belonging to that group). Creating a ghetto doesn't solve the problem, and those kids are still going to have to live in their old neighbourhoods.

    And if any teacher uses the cop-out "against my religion" excuse sack the ****er. This is about stopping bullying, nothing more.
     
  21. leekohler macrumors G5

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    #21
    I agree with you on most points, but it's not a perfect world. I guess I'm a little conflicted on it, but in the end I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens here.
     
  22. Daremo macrumors 68000

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    I think the blame of the lack of tolerance comes from both sides though. Many people view the gay community as a flamboyant group who pushes their lifestyle in your face, and then demand acceptance. I don't even think it's the actual point of being gay that bothers some people, it's parades dedicated to sexual preference, the severe woman bashing, and just the overall point of forcing a lifestyle in someone's face, and then getting mad when you're not accepted. This of course is NOT the entire gay population. I would never say that, unfortunately a few bad apples can ruin the whole pie.

    The biggest problem with this is, you're trying to convert adults who have either been raised with intolerance or draw their own opinions of what they see. If you REALLY want to change things for the future, better education is needed from early on. And not just for gay issues, but for people and race in general.
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

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    #23
    My understanding from the way this was pitched on NPR was basically that the school would be like magnet schools, and would generally welcome students of all sexual orientations, but the students would have to be on board with the pro-gay environment at the school. I think it could be good (I also would see it as an intermediary step). I guess it depends on how the school plans firm up. Depending on what the demographics of the school were like, it might be quite interesting -- ideally, it would be big enough to draw in lots of kids who are heterosexual but who have solidarity with gay kids -- I think the greater the extent to which it does this (without diluting the tolerance aspect of the school), the greater the chance it'll have a long term positive impact on the community. If it's 100% gay, it'll be a stop gap measure at best and possibly unintentional segregation after all.
     
  24. leekohler macrumors G5

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    That pretty much sums it up nicely. Let's hope it works.
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

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    #25
    Will they be offering a "How To Push Your Lifestyle And Agenda Into Someone's Face 101" class?
     

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