Two decades ago, Harvey Milk High School opened in Greenwich Village, NY. It has been and continues to be a sanctuary, a large "safe zone" for LGBTQ students and staff, along with straight allies. The need for such a high school is itself an indictment on many public and private schools, where being LGBTQ and out-straight allies may make someone a target of harassment. There was this moving statistic in the article from this morning's News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) that attracted my attention:
Last year the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network unveiled its "National School Climate Survey." Of the 6,200 gay middle and high school students surveyed, about 90 percent had been harassed and 60 percent said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
Hannah Devane, 17, a student at Harvey Milk, said mainstream schools failed her. She felt alienated and became so depressed, Devane said, she didn't get out of bed in the mornings. She stopped attending classes.
When Devane was 13, she heard about the Harvey Milk school in the news, and decided to ask her counselor to help her transfer.
"Coming here changed my life," she said. "Now I'm an A student."My high school son has told me that, repeatedly in his classes, students are allowed to make derogatory comments re: LGBTQ people, e.g., fag or "that's so gay," but are only reprimanded when making racist or sexist comments by teachers.
And this is in a progressive part of NC!?
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It is time to change.