Saturday, November 22, 2008

School in America aimed for diverse kids

This is an interesting idea

Proposed Gay High School Changed to 'Bully-Free' School
FOXNews - Nov 18, 2008

The new language echoes the mission statement of Milwaukee's Alliance School, where lead teacher Tina Owen said staff have been successful in attracting — and protecting — a wide range of students, from those who identify as "Goth" to teens with disabilities.

"They find it to be a place where they can be themselves," Owen said. "It's a safe place."

But even without a mission statement aimed directly at gay youth, about 60 percent of Alliance School's 125 students identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

Not surprising considering students nationwide say sexual orientation and gender identity are two of the top three reasons behind bullying and harassment. Appearance is No. 1, according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

A 2007 GLSEN survey of more than 6,200 middle and high school students found that 86 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered students experienced harassment in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 60 percent felt unsafe at school.

In the same survey, 33 percent reported skipping a day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe, compared to 4.5 percent of a national sample of secondary school students.

"Harassment is the rule, not the exception, if you're an LGBT student," said Kevin Jennings, founder of the New York City-based GLSEN.