The Chicago School Board will vote this month on whether to create a high school for gay youth, many of whom experience abuse in their current schools.
If approved, the School for Social Justice-Pride Campus would become the nation's third gay-friendly high school (joining New York's Harvey Milk and Milwaukee's Alliance). Proposed Pride Campus Principal Chad Weiden says the school will be open to all genders and orientations and will not ask students to identify either at the door. He says statistics show a need for such a school. The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that 86.2 percent of gay youth were verbally harassed in the past year and 22.1 percent were victims of physical assaults at school.
GLSEN Director and Founder Kevin Jennings says gay high schools are necessary to ensure gay students get the diplomas they deserve. "The fact is these kids are not making it through school, and we have to make sure they do while also making sure that every school is safe for every kid," Jennings says.