Chicago's first gay-friendly school put on hold

Thu. November 20, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Chicago, IL - The plan to open Chicago's first high school for gay students has been put on hold after backers pulled the plug on a "watered-down" proposal Tuesday night.

The Chicago Board of Education was scheduled to vote Wednesday as to whether Chicago Public Schools would open its first gay-friendly school.

Organizers of the plan say they want another year to finalize their plans for the Social Justice Solidarity High School. The school initially was going to be called the School for Social Justice Pride Campus, but last week organizers changed the name to the Solidarity Campus. Proponents say the revamped proposal failed to mention sexual identity and broadened the school's focus to include all disenfranchised groups of students.

Gay activists say they oppose the current plan for a school reserved for homosexual students to other "disenfranchised" kids. They say school officials gave in to public and political pressure.

Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network says the revamped plan doesn't measure up to the needs of LGBT students, which is to provide a safe haven.

"I think it's frankly a caving in, and I think it's unfortunate," said Thayer.