An LGBTA high school was one of 20 new schools the head of Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ) recommended to the school board Oct. 8.
CPS CEO Arne Duncan included the School for Social Justice-Pride Campus in his recommendation. If chosen, Pride Campus would open in 2010. The proposed school would be open to all students, but would cater to the needs of LGBTQ students and their allies.
Duncan's announcement took place at the Chicago International Charter School's Ralph Ellison Campus. During the announcement, Duncan said that he felt the Pride Campus, which would have an enrollment of roughly 600 students, would attract mostly straight youth. He also said that the Pride Campus would fill a needed 'niche,' and stressed the high rates of homelessness and high school dropout among LGBTQ youth.
The Board of Education will vote on the 20 proposed high schools Wed., Oct. 22.
A second public hearing regarding Pride Campus took place on the same day as the announcement, giving community members another opportunity to remark on the proposed school. The hearing was held at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Roughly 40 people attended the hearing, and about 25 individuals spoke, ranging from politicians, activists and leaders of various LGBT organizations to teachers, students and allies. While every speaker supported the proposed school, a few expressed their concern that the entire CPS system needs to continue to make all schools safe for all students. Read more about the hearing in the next issue of Windy City Times.
A third and final public hearing is set for Wed., Oct. 15 at 6-8 p.m., at the CPS Board Chambers, 5th floor, 125 S. Clark.