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New York opens 1st public school for gay students

LGBT Education

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#21 Rov Judicata

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:34 AM

Drew, on Jul 28 2003, 12:13 PM, said:

Rov, why do you think any "education" campaigns won't work?
Because teenagers already know everything. ;).

Seriously, it's hard enough to alter the opinions of *adults* who have enough perspective to know they could be wrong. Look at the failure of alcohol and abstinence efforts at the college level; I don't think the results would be much better for a homosexuality campaign.
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#22 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:34 AM

Drew, on Jul 28 2003, 03:10 PM, said:

Javert Rovinski, on Jul 28 2003, 02:04 PM, said:

If we accept that the claim of beatings/harrasment of gays in public schools are true, what are we left with?
I'm sure kids who identify themselves as gay will receive abuse. So do those who identify as geeks, as nerds, as members of the marching band or chess club. Schools are microcosms of a society where different identity groups clash as a matter of course. Which groups are most deserving of being given "protected" status?
You know what?  I grew up in NYC, BEFORE the current wave of acceptance of homosexuality.  Gays were not descriminated against to the point of beating in the MAIN.  Yes - there were incidents.  And yes, there were attitudes against homosexuals.  The OTHER F word was in fairly common usage.  But kids didn't get beat up.

Moreover - there were some schools where it was much more common - for instance schools that emphasized dance or the arts had their fair share.  And even where some prejudicial attitudes remained, students generally got along and found their way.  Let's not make New York City the bastian of gay bashing... :sarcasm:  Homosexuality (especially if you are a villagey-type) is very VOGUE.  My silly thread out on The Beach (Metrosexualism) is most certainly an outgrowth of the influence of homosexuals on large city environments (NY, LA, SF).  In short - I just don't buy the entire rationale behind this move.

And having said that - I STILL wouldn't support it.  People forget that there are collateral damages to violence in schools - the bystanders are harmed TOO - the culture of bullies dominating and enforcing their will is good for NO ONE... so the schools MUST be safe PERIOD.  Not just for any one segment of the population.

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#23 the 'Hawk

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:34 AM

Segregation defeats the purpose of diversity.

I have to dismiss the arguments based on race and such because you couldn't tell just by looking at me that I'm straight. I actually often get prattled for being perceived as "acting gay". So what. I know who I am. But I learned that by hard knocks.

This isn't about a principle, as would be the case, say, with Catholic or Jewish parochial schools ---a segregation that I support in Ontario and Quebec because the intent is the fostering of religious tenets and principles, not shielding certain members of a society from the majority opinion.

And to my mind, that's precisely what it seems like to me. As so many people are fond of saying to me, "in the real world, you don't get that kind of option". (I love to hear people talk about the real world. Makes me wonder where I am.) Integration isn't the best option for this sort of thing. But it is the only one.

This just strikes me as being another well-intentioned, ill-selected battle being fought with someone else's tax dollars by a government so bent on appeasing a tiny but boisterous few that they'll concede anything so long as they just shut up already. If this were privately funded with tuition dollars, I would applaud its intent but decry its method.

Not to mention that most of the gay/lesbian friends I've known either "knew all their lives" as if from the womb, or didn't realize until after a few experiments in college. Gay schools, like 'straight schools', would still reinforce a certain sexuality, wouldn't they? And more to the point, sexuality is such a formative, sensitive topic in high school, I would really hate to have to learn in an environment in which the only qualification for my being there is my location and my sexual orientation.

(And did I mention how big a bull's-eye you can paint on this school for hate groups who REALLY get militant about homosexual issues? This school is a battlefield waiting to happen.)

It's just bad news all around. And frankly, I would be a lot happier if homosexuality as an issue on the whole was just so accepted that it NEVER made the news-- and never required ideas like this to see the light of day.

As always, maybe I'm wrong. But there it is regardless.

*edit for clarity*

:cool:

Edited by the 'Hawk, 29 July 2003 - 06:36 AM.

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#24 Drew

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:36 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Jul 28 2003, 02:24 PM, said:

Seriously, it's hard enough to alter the opinions of *adults* who have enough perspective to know they could be wrong. Look at the failure of alcohol and abstinence efforts at the college level; I don't think the results would be much better for a homosexuality campaign.
With alcohol consumption and abstinence education, there are mixed messages everywhere.

Of course it's hard to change the opinion of adults. But kids are blank slates.

For what it's worth, I think a well-done "re-education" program will always have the intended effect. And to be done well it has to be done as really good propaganda. Setting aside the normal connotations one associates with "re-education" and "propaganda," think of the number of ways one can easily sway public opinion given the resources (and built-in audience) available to our public schools. But it's important to note that this is the long game. You may not change the current generation, but you can easily change future generations.

If Hollywood sides with your position, you've got even better resources to completely alter society. And when you've got a bunch of teenagers out there just waiting to be handed their custom-fit epistemologies . . . it's a recipe for success.

Edited by Drew, 29 July 2003 - 06:39 AM.

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#25 Bad Wolf

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:38 AM

Drew, on Jul 28 2003, 12:26 PM, said:

For what it's worth, I think a well-done "re-education" program will always have the intended effect. And to be done well it has to be done as really good propaganda. Setting aside the normal connotations one associates with "re-education" and "propaganda," think of the number of ways one can easily sway public opinion given the resources (and built-in audience) available to our public schools. But it's important to note that this is the long game. You may not change the current generation, but you can easily change future generations.

If Hollywood sides with your position, you've got even better resources to completely alter society.
Beautifully said!

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#26 G1223

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:46 AM

Rov here is my reasoning why the state might have done this.

        Well I am guessing that the assualts were particullary violent or made too much news so taking this action allowed for the the city to be seen as Pro Active to cases of violence. It may have even been done to make the advocay group that supported the choice come around to a position of support for the mayor.
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#27 Drew

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:51 AM

G1223, on Jul 28 2003, 02:36 PM, said:

It may have even been done to make the advocay group that supported the choice come around to a position of support for the mayor.
How cynical!  :cool:
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#28 G1223

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:53 AM

No just politics as it happens.
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#29 Drew

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:02 AM

G1223, on Jul 28 2003, 02:43 PM, said:

No just politics as it happens.
Right. I think a lot of politics is fueled by cynicism. Your comment makes me wonder if this school is just a pawn in a political chess game. I mean, anyone brazen enough to oppose this school must be a right-wing bigot, right? And when did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Candidate?

But I digress.  :angel:
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#30 Bad Wolf

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 07:11 AM

Drew, on Jul 28 2003, 12:52 PM, said:

I mean, anyone brazen enough to oppose this school must be a right-wing bigot, right?
LOL!

I'd like to see anyone on the board say that to me with a straight face.

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#31 Julie

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 09:01 AM

How quickly we've forgotten what abuse black students were willing to put up with to desegregate the schools!  Now, because of abuse of a much lesser degree, we're willing to put those barriers right back up again?

#32 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 09:51 AM

Julie, on Jul 28 2003, 02:51 PM, said:

How quickly we've forgotten what abuse black students were willing to put up with to desegregate the schools!  Now, because of abuse of a much lesser degree, we're willing to put those barriers right back up again?
Well, I wouldn't characterize it as abuse of "much lesser" degree if you remember Matthew Shepard, who as I recall was much older than high school.

I can't see this as anything but voluntary....  Surely there are more than 130 gay kids in the New York school system.  What do they do,ask a kid if he or she is homosexual and autosegregate them?  I'd guess this is more of a safe haven for kids who have already been beaten, harassed or worse.  Unless you want to see the national guard patrolling hallways again, maybe this isn't such a bad idea.

And maybe it is a way for kids to connect with others who understand them in a way that nobody else can.

-edit, added words "anything but" because that's what I meant.

Edited by LaughingVulcan, 29 July 2003 - 09:55 AM.

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#33 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 09:56 AM

There are kids who need safe haven ANYWAY.

There are good kids who need safe haven in bad schools - kids who are afraid to be good in class, or to NOT use drugs.  Where is THEIR safe haven?

I'm all for safe haven schools.  But singling out homosexual kids is simply ridiculous.

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#34 Bad Wolf

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:03 AM

LaughingVulcan, on Jul 28 2003, 03:41 PM, said:

Well, I wouldn't characterize it as abuse of "much lesser" degree if you remember Matthew Shepard, who as I recall was much older than high school.
Agreed.

Quote

I can't see this as anything but voluntary....

That's not the issue.  The issue is that because it's a public school it's a "state action".  It's a state action that is segregating on the basis of sexuality.  This is no better than segregating on the basis of race or gender.

Quote

  I'd guess this is more of a safe haven for kids who have already been beaten, harassed or worse. 

I stand by what I said to Rov.  The answer is not to squirrel away victims of hate crimes and insulate tthem from their peers.  Doing so promotes seperatism and that's precisely the wrong thing to be promoting.

Quote

And maybe it is a way for kids to connect with others who understand them in a way that nobody else can.

Again irrelevant to the question of whether the government ought to be sponsoring segregation.

The answer to bigotry is 1) making damned sure that it's known that crimes based on it will be severely punished; 2) education.

Not segregation.

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#35 Chipper

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:23 AM

I don't agree with this decision, like many others here.  Why should we return to segregating different parts of the population?  We had enough trouble years ago (and still do -- check out that school that holds two seperate proms for white and black students), so why go back?

There shoudln't be any special educational facility, IMO, for anyone, other than the kids who really need it (special ed, etc).  All people should be learning what the others are, and be in the same environment.  The problem is that our society doesn't allow this.  I go to a regular public school.  I see what goes on there.

Last year, friends of mine decided to organize one of the first Gay-Straight Alliance groups in a middle school environment, on Long Island.  They got the idea during a visit by our High School's GSA.  The MOMENT parents heard about this, there was an uproar; we even had Eyewitness News from New York come and do a report on it.  You can't educate the children when the parents refuse to allow their kids to be exposed to these different views of life.  And that won't change because without this education, all generations will suffer.  The increased animosity towards ANYONE who doesn't "conform" to what is considered "normal" makes people want to just go hide somewhere, and I kind of view this new school as a way to "hide" the gay students from eveyrone else.  But you can't hide everyone.  Not the ones who are abused constantly by others just because they have a different view of things.  I know this, I put up with it as well.  

There's no winning, for all views.  Not until society accepts that people are different.
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#36 LaughingVulcan

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:26 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jul 28 2003, 03:53 PM, said:

I stand by what I said to Rov.  The answer is not to squirrel away victims of hate crimes and insulate tthem from their peers.  Doing so promotes seperatism and that's precisely the wrong thing to be promoting.
....
And maybe it is a way for kids to connect with others who understand them in a way that nobody else can
.....
The answer to bigotry is 1) making damned sure that it's known that crimes based on it will be severely punished; 2) education.
Desegregation might work if there's enough of a population to allow integration.  I just don't believe that there's enough of a population here to integrate them effectively.

The only problem with punishment/education is that it inevitably takes examples to make it work, if it works at all.   Whose kids will you risk?

And there is a big difference, to me, between people saying "give me a space where I'm not seen and treated as a bug eyed monster," and the state automatically enforcing segregation because you're female or a different ethnicity.  Even today there exist colleges (who receive fed funding and therefore are subject to public policy) which exist to provide a mostly separated environment ethnically and on gender.

Separately, QT, you have a very valid point (so did you,Lil *sqyeeze*) about all kids who are in need of protection.    I think homophobia is pervasive enough, though, to require a different approach.  A white male kid who's being beaten up for being a computer geek can be moved to another school if that's what it takes.  Any gay person who comes out of the closet will have that label hung on  them wherever they are.  But YMMV on this.
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#37 Josh

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:27 AM

Quote

You can't educate the children when the parents refuse to allow their kids to be exposed to these different views of life.  And that won't change because without this education, all generations will suffer.  The increased animosity towards ANYONE who doesn't "conform" to what is considered "normal" makes people want to just go hide somewhere, and I kind of view this new school as a way to "hide" the gay students from eveyrone else.  But you can't hide everyone.  Not the ones who are abused constantly by others just because they have a different view of things.

Agreed. I went to an alternative high school because I was tired of seeing all the gay bashing and all the racism and STUPIDITY at my local high school...

However, this all-gay school takes it to a completely different level... one that I do consider hiding them. The people in charge may think that they are doing a good thing... but I just don't know.

Edited by Josh, 29 July 2003 - 10:27 AM.

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#38 QueenTiye

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:51 AM

LaughingVulcan, on Jul 28 2003, 07:16 PM, said:

Separately, QT, you have a very valid point (so did you,Lil *sqyeeze*) about all kids who are in need of protection.    I think homophobia is pervasive enough, though, to require a different approach.  A white male kid who's being beaten up for being a computer geek can be moved to another school if that's what it takes.  Any gay person who comes out of the closet will have that label hung on  them wherever they are.  But YMMV on this.
And it does.  I'm not thinking about geeky kids in average schools, I'm thinking about decent kids in troubled, gun/sex/drug infested schools.

And I know the NYC public school system.  Every kid that needs a safe haven CANNOT be moved. They are held hostage to a system that gives more credence to philosophies, politics, and teachers unions than to KIDS.  My own son was stuck in a situation like that - being held back in spite of being at least one grade ahead of his entire class - while bureocracies and such refused to recognize his achievement and his needs... and this was in PRESCHOOL - where he was too young to be confronted with the other ills he would have been confronted with in the school he was at.  It was a ZONED school - meaning we could not move him - and although we appealed, we were told that for the purposes of diversity - our request for transfer was denied - in short, because he was one smart kid in the midst of a disaster zone, he HAD TO STAY in the disaster zone.  I am very grateful that we were able to get him out of that situation - but I'm not insensitive to the many parents who's circumstances are not as extreme - they just want better for their children, and their children are being harrassed because of striving for better - and there is no better to offer.
In some cases - these kids are beat up, bullied, and threatened...  and are just as deserving of assistance as any other child in a threatening environment.

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#39 Bad Wolf

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 10:54 AM

LaughingVulcan, on Jul 28 2003, 04:16 PM, said:

Desegregation might work if there's enough of a population to allow integration.  I just don't believe that there's enough of a population here to integrate them effectively.

The only problem with punishment/education is that it inevitably takes examples to make it work, if it works at all.   Whose kids will you risk?
It's not a perfect world.

But if we start lying down while the government segregates people based on something like this it sets a very dangerous precedent.

Who's next?  I'm all for support groups, clubs, and any other kind of organization that is intended to offer a haven for people who are beleaguered by homophobia.

But that is again irrelevant to this discussion.  This discussion has to do with the STATE promoting segregation.

And I cannot and will never condone that.

It's wrong.
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#40 Cardie

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 11:25 AM

What about the state-funded high schools for the arts, or for the sciences. These are magnet schools where students who are especially committed to one kind of curricular emphasis compete to be admitted. I see this school as a similar magnet school for kids who want to be around other kids like themselves. It's not that every gay, bi or transgender kid in New York is going to be forced to go. It's one school for those to whom their sexuality is of major concern.

I'm not sure it's a good idea, but I think there are precedents that don't rise to the label of segregation.

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