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High school aimed toward LGBT students to open in Chicago

Various studies show that gay and lesbian students are more likely to drop out of high school due to unsafe feelings.

The School for Social Justice Pride Campus, the first Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual /Transsexual (LGBT) school in Chicago will be open for all students, but will provide a safe and friendly atmosphere for LBGT students who have experienced harassment in other schools.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, “A 2003 district survey shows that gay and lesbian youths are
three times more likely to miss school because they feel unsafe. On Wednesday, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network released a national survey of more than 6,000 middle and high school students that found that nearly 90 percent were harassed at school and about 61 percent felt unsafe.?

In an article from The Advocate, Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan is quoted as saying, "We want to create great new options for communities that have been traditionally underserved, if you look at national studies, you see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates. ... I think there is a niche there we need to fill."

Chad Weiden, the selected principal at Pride Campus told the Chicago Tribune that the “school would incorporate lessons about sexual identity in literature and history classes and offer counseling.?

Students throughout the city interested in going the school will be admitted through a lottery procedure and the school will carry the same general requirements as other schools in the district.

Duncan expects the school to enroll mostly straight students. He told the Chicago Sun Times that “many kids should be attracted to its college-prep curriculum and its message of ‘social justice' and ‘tolerance’.?

The Chicago Sun Times reports that “The Pride Campus still needs a location but hopes to open in 2010 and ultimately serve 600 students.?

The final vote for approval of the school will be made by the city’s board of education on Oct. 22.

All three publications provided three different names for the school, so I decided to use the title I saw more frequently in other stories.

While all three stories provided roughly same amount of information, the Chicago Tribune’s article gave some relevant background information with its description of one of the public hearings. The article also presented specific information about the school that the other articles did not mention.

I understand that The Advocate is a nationally circulated publication, but I expected it to contribute more information to the story, especially since story surrounds such a serious and widespread issue that affects many youth.