I thank God that a school district has finally found the courage to create a safe haven for the youth that some narrow-minded people don't understand ["Milwaukee to Form Gay-Friendly Middle School," usnews.com]. I went to a major university and played football there. Having to hide my sexual identity was very demeaning to me. Therefore, I did not show who I truly was until just after my dad died, and I regret I did not have the guts to tell him. I felt that I had to live a lie just to be accepted. When I came out, I found that I was accepted by all my friends and family. Everyone should be accepted for who they are, the attributes they show, the humor, the compassion and the caring they have for their fellow human beings.
Comment by Slade Hansen of VA
The education system needs to be concerned with teaching and providing the required elements of knowledge rather than being concerned with sexual preference. If there are cases of children being harassed, then the offenders need to be dealt with. Other than that, the educational structure should not intervene. I, as a taxpayer, would not support such an action under any circumstance. Furthermore, you are talking about middle-school students! The last thing that should be on their minds is sexual preference.
Comment by B. Hedden of PA
It sets a very bad precedent to segregate gay and lesbian and transgender students. Students from a gay-friendly school would become labeled as such and still subject to harassment by intolerant students and others. Schools should include programs to teach tolerance for students with different sexual orientation, just as is done for different religions. Students who harass others should be required to attend a remedial program to teach tolerance or even punished or expelled.
Comment by Tony D. of MA
If you're straight, it's easy to say that sexual preference should not be a concern. To say that offenders of abuse should simply "be dealt with" is a cop out. Simple fact—these kinds of offenders are never dealt with in our society. In fact, such abuse is often encouraged by families, churches, peers, and yes—even by some teachers. We can't even get approvals to document hate crimes in our retrograde society, let alone prosecute them. To say that we should deal with a problem after the fact, with no effort to prevent it, is negligence. I used to live in Milwaukee—it was a terrible place to be gay in the 1980s. So, good for them! I'm a taxpayer and applaud any school system that takes proactive steps to stave off ignorance and bigotry. And for the record, I knew that I was gay before I was 10 years old—so yes, indeed, it is an issue affecting middle-school children. Way to go, heartland!
Comment by David Warner of DC
I think this comes down to the U.S. education system. I believe an excellent educator is one who embraces the values of our free and equal nation. Because educators carry a heavy weight in molding future generations—I think [Education Secretary designate] Arne Duncan must really work during his term to implement a standard for diversity programs across the board and rid the system of uneducated, ignorant teachers. In my opinion, it's the ignorance that fosters hate and hate that destroys the beauty of a free nation.
Comment by Beatrice of NJ