We're Here, We're Queer, We're Separate but Equal

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The Harvey Milk High School, a gay-only New York high school formerly run and funded by the Hetrick-Martin Institute, will be going public as of this year.

A few years ago, as a teaching assistant at New York University's urban journalism program for inner-city schools, I spoke with some students who had nothing but praise for Harvey Milk. After enduring unrelenting harassment at their former schools, they found, at Harvey Milk, an environment in which they could learn in peace. So it's hard to be too automatically down on this.

Yet the idea of incorporating this sort of segregation, even voluntary segregation, into the public system is unsettling. I can't begrudge the students who feel they need it the ability to exit hostile environments. But this puts school districts in the position of picking and choosing which categories of student merit their own separate facilities. And what of straight students trapped in bad schools? As I understand it, they'd be denied access to a potentially better education that the state has made available to their gay peers. More troubling still, in an arena lacking full, genuine educational competition, there's a possibility that this limited form of exit (Milk only takes about 100 students) will ease pressure on public administrators to crack down on harassment and make ordinary public schools a safe environment for all students.

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  1. This is a great idea! I bet White and Black folks could benefit from this approach too. I’m sure that people would be a lot more comfortable without having to address difficult questions of race… so I’m proposing that every school district have separate Black and White high schools.

    And Hispanic and Asian American and Native American high schools. And maybe a Jewish school, and an Islamic school — we can’t have anyone being uncomfortable in high school, or worried about bullying.

    In fact, why stop with schools? Why not just have gay and straight towns and workplaces, Black, White, Hispanic and Asian states…

    The possibilities are endless.

    Sure, the idea of segregation sounds bad – but as the Supreme Court reminded us in the university of Michigan litigation, if you have good motives, it ain’t really discrimination. And what could be more noble than reducing the stress people feel when they feel different or out of place…

  2. Boy, I sure wish they had a separate school for the chess club and the debating society members when I was even school. Even they gay kids used to kick my ass.

  3. Hmm. It seems that, on the one hand, engaging in discrimination to create a multicutural educational environment (a la Michigan law school) is OK because of a compelling state interest in diversity. So is it also OK to engage in discrimination to create a monocultural educational environment (a la Milk school)? What is the compelling state interest here?

    I don’t know how anyone can characterize this as “voluntary” either. My guess is that a slef-identified straight student who asks for a transfer to Milk school will get a flat out no.

  4. This only feels like an issue if you see the world in black and white and confuse glib five-word slogans with political thought.

    For one thing, Harvey Milk and other gay-refuge high schools aren’t for kids who felt alone in their previous school. They’re for kids who face constant harrassment, real violence and physical threats, and complicty from the school administration. The problem is seldom that school administrators do too little to help these kids. It’s usually instead that the school administrators actively participate in the harrassment.

    Milk is a school for troubled kids. It’s a place where rescue is attempted, just like the special public schools and programs for other at-risk kids, like repeat juvenile offenders. It concentrates scarce special resources–counseling, peer groups, and maybe a reading list in Sophomore Lit that adds a few books that speak more directly to the at-risk kid’s personal experience, whether that’s as a child of alcoholics, a gang member looking for a way out, or a gay kid whose parents threw them out and who’s been told by their vice principal that homosexuality is a sin for which they’ll burn for all eternity.

    Would it be less objectionable if these programs were just a set of electives and an extra guidance counselor inside a mainstream school? If so, why?

  5. Is this a charter school?

    If it is, I don’t have a problem with something like it existing. I do have a problem with a private school going public, though.

  6. I have some mixed feelings on the issue, like I think most people who post here do. If it was still private, I’d think it was a great idea. As a public school it feels too much like segregation, especially if they at some point make it manditory. If I think of it as an all boys or all girls school, it’s not so bad though. So reluctantly I’m in favor of it as much as I am any public school. Plus, I don’t want to be on the same side of an issue as Falwell. 🙂

  7. Koppelman, speaking of “black and white,” consider how you’d feel if such a school were opened to admit black, and only black, students who felt oppressed as a racial minority. It may indeed serve a good end, but it also has down sides that Julian mentions.

    I’m not sure how to resolve a difficulty like this except to say that the state shouldn’t be in the business of creating and designing schools in the first place.

  8. “My guess is that a slef-identified straight student who asks for a transfer to Milk school will get a flat out no.”

    He would have to use the Stripes answer: No, I am not homosexual but I am willing to learn.

  9. No mixed feelings, this is totally out of place for a public school system. The children threatening these students and others should be expelled and placed in an alternate program. $3.2 million in taxpayer dollars shouldn’t pay for 100 students to have their own school. What’s next? Fat camps? All nerd schools? Fugly chick school? Give me a break.

    The money could be better spent ensuring that schools are a safe place for kids to get an education, no matter what race, religion, or sexual orientation.

    Of course I’d be for this if it was privately funded, but that’s a completely different issue. I would still argue that sheltering yourself from reality (which consists of people that are not all gay) will not properly prepare these kids for the real world.

  10. Sounds good to me, but to be fair, make sure its budget gets slashed prior to the fall term.

  11. I have a very real problem with this. As long as the “gay only” school was privately funded, I see no problem with it. But I have a very serious problem with publicly funding a “gay only” school. Why not publicly fund a “Christian only” school? Or how about a “black only” school? Or a “white only” school? Or a “children-with-single-parents only” school? Or a “fat only” school? And so on and so forth.

    Apparently, public schools can be used to push certain political agendas but not others.

  12. Brad S./Brady-

    I agree- and I am SICK AND TIRED of those damn schools for Retards, Blind twits and the deaf. Those schools are being created to push certain political agendas but not others. What, “Separate but Equal”? Go back to Birmingham.

    I don’t think those schools should exist- how could they prepare kids for the real world?

  13. Tievsky: Another way you might resolve it in your mind is to do what I did years ago: give up on seeing everything as an either/or dichotomy. It’s tough, seeing as that’s what’s at the core of all utopian political creeds, Communism, Fascism and Libertarianism alike.

    There already are de facto minorities-only specialty schools. Many are in poor black communities and and use Black Pride and Afrocentrist themes to bolster the students’ self-confidence, and sometimes they overlap with the more intensive, counseling-heavy programs for juvenile offenders. Same goes for a handful of schools popping up on the West Coast for Asian-American gang kids and for some public boot-camp style programs. I don’t really have a problem with them as long as they fill a pressing need for a desperate kid.

    It’s a messy, organic world out there. You can take the obsessive-compulsive approach and bash away at society’s rough human edges with a reductive philosophy, or you can try to find solutions that accompilsh a net good, even if the solution turns out to be messy. What’s more important? Getting troubled kids the support and education they need, or making sure there aren’t any logical flaws in the rules schools apply to demarcate groups of students?

  14. All schools should be private. This is a prime example of why. Who could rationally object to a privately funded school for gay kids? No one has to go, and no one has to support it.

    Everything done in the public school system is a political football. Educators should be educating, not playing politics.

  15. To anon on 7/29/03 at 2:32 pm:

    Mentally handicapped, blind, and deaf children have obvious special needs that, in many cases, can only be accomodated by a special school. Homosexuals do not.

    Sorry, but that man was made out of straw…

  16. so, i guess the anon @ 2:32 thinks that a gay school is the same as a special ed school. he/she also ignored the fact that i even mentioned that violent kids should be put in alternate programs, which should have been a clue that i am not against alternative schooling just by default.

    my mother teaches special ed and high risk students, and i can tell you that gay students are a completely different issue…that is unless you are arguing that homosexuality is a handicap or immediate threat to other students, which could easily be negated.

    the gay school represents special interests, not special needs.

  17. . . . unless anon wants to define homosexuality as a legally recognized handicap. Judging from his smart ass remark, I shouldn’t think so.

    And as long as we’re separating students, let’s have schools for bright kids and schools for dummies. That sure would’ve made my schooling experience more productive.

  18. Crap. How did you get that in before me?

  19. Citizen:

    Not to be argumentative, but some places actually have this. The magnet middle school i went to required a certain GPA to get in and stay in, or you got the boot back to the regular joe schmoe one.

    i would argue that magnet schools such as this one make sense because they are immediately related to what a school is for – education, instead of a non-education related political agenda.

    not to say that all of this actually worked well, it was actually part of the Baton Rouge, LA busing system which was a freakin nightmare.

  20. Which school would you have gone to for a more productive experience, Citizen? ;-}

    Right on the money, Brian. This is the kind of thing that makes you sure being a Libertarian is the only way. Get the government out of the decision making and funding and everyone will be happy.

    Klaus, that was one of the funniest posts ever. Don’t be too hard on yourself – I’m sure those skills helped you a lot in later life ….

  21. No kidding? Well boy is my face red.

    You know, come to think of it, I was in a program in k-6 where they pulled us out once a week, we went to another school, sat and did puzzles and the like all day. That was kinda fun.

    But I do find it odd that the LA system you discribe uses GPA as determination for who is eligible for the special school. If they’re actually trying to seperate the talent from the dead weight shouldn’t they use something a little less … uhmm … integrated into the system? You know, an IQ test or something along those lines.

  22. Koppelman: “What’s more important? Getting troubled kids the support and education they need, or making sure there aren’t any logical flaws in the rules schools apply to demarcate groups of students?”

    The “separate but equal” doctrine of old was certainly something more than a “logical flaw”–it was a vehicle of oppression, something it can be again. Avoiding that has everything to do with promoting the “net good.” And gay-only schools must rely upon a “separate but equal” rationale.

    Now, would you allow, not “de facto,” but de jure black-only schools created to serve an end similar to the one that Harvey Milk serves? (The critical difference between the two, I think, is that de facto segregation is a result of parents’ choices whereas de jure segregation is a function of government design.) Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d guess not–precisely because “separate but equal” is so fearsome.

    And if I’m right, why don’t you feel similarly when the classification is not race, but homosexuality? If there’s an inconsistency, a “logical flaw,” you don’t get to just brush it off, for it would indicate that one of your positions is wrong. Alternatively, explain why there is no logical inconsistency–in other words, tell me what it is in that “messy, organic world out there” that would explain why the comparison between race and sexual orientation is inappropriate in this context, why there need not be consistency of policy between the two classifications.

  23. There were actually 2 choices I considered. The magnet was based on GPA and the gifted was based on IQ. We visited the gifted one, and let me just say “nerd central”. I actually chose the magnet to be around a more diverse (and fun) crowd. They also had engineer school, dance, etc, but I wasn’t interested in any of that.

    I did a version of what you are talking about regarding getting pulled from class in elementary school, too. Tons of fun doing computer programming, film making, etc.

  24. “They’re for kids who face constant harrassment, real violence and physical threats, and complicty from the school administration. The problem is seldom that school administrators do too little to help these kids. It’s usually instead that the school administrators actively participate in the harrassment.”

    That would seem to be a matter for the coppers or at least civil suits or disciplinary hearings. That would also have a better societal impact than self-segregation.

    Ryan: A straight kid from a tough neighborhood. Needs a better school. Street-wise. Proactive. Can rap (or will be looped by Ice-T).

    Amanda: A straight girl from Westchester. Wants out of her suburban hell. Proactive. Dances, occasionally semi-nude.

    Chuck: The bear-like Vice Principal of Milk.

    Lisbetta: A brazilian she-male who befriends Ryan and Amanda, and knows their secret. Street-wise and overall wise. A bit world weary, but with a heart of gold.

    Someone call David E. Kelley, my treatment’s almost done.

  25. Tiev-
    Well, one difference in this case is that, presumably, students and their parents would ask to attend the Milk school, rather than being put there by law. I’m still opposed to this on net, but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as pre-Brown racial segregation.

  26. Absolutely, Julian–that’s why I compared Harvey Milk to hypothetical “de jure black-only schools created to serve an end similar to the one that Harvey Milk serves,” not to pre-Brown segregation. I meant to imply that such hypothetical schools would only hold students who chose to be there, just like Harvey Milk. That would still be a case of “segregation [as] a function of government design.”

  27. Vouchers would end all of this debate.
    When people have a choice all of the nonsense about uniforms, boys only or girls only schools, religion, sex education and now gay segregation evaporate. All the time, energy and resources wasted on useless discussions like these can be targeted towards simply getting your kid the best education, in the most appropriate setting, possible. Why is this such a mystery to liberals?

  28. jg,

    True to an extent, but should vouchers be redeemable at schools that discriminate based on sexual orientation? Religion? Race? Eligibility requirements in voucher programs tend to repoliticize these questions.

  29. I went to a high school of about 1500 or so students. In all of those 1500, two girls were Pentecostal and wore only dresses, no jewelry, no makeup, just very modest. They didn?t preach to anyone, they didn?t overtly display their Christianity, nothing. All they did was dress in an ultra modest fashion.

    And they got picked on a little.

    What about PUBLIC schools for fundamentalist Christians?

    Marie,
    “but should vouchers be redeemable at schools that”. . .

    So if a school had less than the population percentage of a certain minority it could be said that it was discriminating.

    I won’t explain the rest of that scenario, bottom line is Marie that your knee jerk reaction is to question someone else’s right to choose.

  30. “Educators should be educating, not playing politics.”

    A kid who gets beat up on a weekly basis because he’s gay doesn’t get to decide whether or not to be involved in politics. Politics is the fist that makes his face bleed, and the poisoned brain that throws that fist. The fact that you think one can opt into or out of politics at will demonstrates nothing so much as your own privilege.

  31. What do vouchers fix, apart from making the logical complexities go away? If schools and programs for at-risk and special-needs kids work within the public framework without having to come up with sliding voucher scales that address certain costly programs, what’s broken? Maybe the solution lies in providing libertarians with severe OCD with the medication they need to stop worrying so much about logical conundrums and focus their energy on practical solutions, market-driven or otherwise.

  32. Marie,

    “Should vouchers be redeemable at schools that discriminate based on sexual orientation? Religion? Race?”

    In a word,yes. In fact, government subsidies for colleges that do discriminate on the basis of sex, religion and sexual orientation already exist. So what’s the difference between a government subsidy for a college education and one for a primary education?
    Is an all black college a bad thing? Not necessarily anymore than an all male, female, Jewish or gay school. You can run a school restricted in all kinds of ways and not teach racism, intolerance, sexism or religious bigotry, can you not?
    One of the delightful facts of the internet era is how fast information can be disseminated and how broadly. Can you imagine an all Catholic school suddenly teaching that other religions must be destroyed? How quickly would word get out about something this weird? How quickly would changes be instituted or kids removed from the school? How swiftly would a like enterprise be ridiculed into oblivian?
    I trust the power the truth will have in these, rare, instances. Maybe in a different age bigots could hide indefinitely but, sadly for them, not so easy to do in todays information hungry world.

  33. “Well, one difference in this case is that, presumably, students and their parents would ask to attend the Milk school, rather than being put there by law. I’m still opposed to this on net, but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as pre-Brown racial segregation.”

    So I guess it would be OK to set up a “voluntary” all-white school, that was open only to white kids who asked to be placed there.

    This would not fly in a million years, and I submit there is no principled difference between a “gay magnet” school and a “white magnet” school.

    Not to mention the money. Jiminy, I think I could come up with educational digs for 100 students for less than $3 million. That works out to, what, $30,000 per student in capital costs! Again, imagine that this much was spent on a “luxury” school for the express purpose of accomodating white students who felt uncomfortable around non-whites.

  34. “What do vouchers fix, apart from making the logical complexities go away? If schools and programs for at-risk and special-needs kids work within the public framework without having to come up with sliding voucher scales that address certain costly programs, what’s broken?”

    1. A privately run school will generally “work” better.

    2. It avoids placing establishing government-mandated segregation, as I already described in my last post you. I’d be curious as to how you rebut this point–it’s more intellectually rigorous than dismissing the problem as one of “logic” (and who really needs logic, anyway…?).

  35. Blah…OK, that last post was by me, aimed at Koppelman.

  36. Ray,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head; I am a knee-jerk reactionary apologist for the status quo who hasn’t thought this issue through very carefully. 😉

    My point is that every existing voucher program in the country, as well as every program I’ve seen seriously proposed, has a non-discrimination requirement for participating schools very close to Title VI, which prohibits discrimination in federally funded institutions based on race, religion or national origin. Further, most programs require admissions to take place by lottery.

    You may believe that these policies are inappropriate, and certainly you are correct when you hint at compliance costs and inforcement difficulties associated with antidiscrimination law. But as soon as tax dollars are involved, antidiscrimination law follows. I believe that many libertarians would object to government vouchers being used at southern “segregation academies.”

    Tax credits for educational expenses reduce the propensity to regulate, because the money never passes through government hands.

  37. “enforcement,” of course.

    jg- You are actually incorrect when you aver that colleges receiving federal funds may discriminate based on race or religion. In fact, they are prohibited under Title VI from discriminating based on either ground. It is for this reason that the Bob Jones Academy cannot participate in the federal student loan program.

  38. Joe,

    With all due respect, you know exactly nothing about my privilege, and entirely missed my point.

  39. I think that most will agree that public schools are full of cliques.

    I propose that we let public schools become bastions of public interest until each and every individual student has his/her/??? personal teacher/principal/coach/school/textbook so that we can ignore the problems of teaching and can begin to cater to the special needs of children who are apparently so busy worrying about their social-sexual lives that they do not have time to learn how to make others accept their social-sexual lifestyle.

    Seriously, most of the kids who make school not worth going to are the future adults who make McDonald’s not worth going to. I say we drop the child-working age limit to 13 or 14 or even 9 or 10 so that these social turds can learn how important a good education is. After all, a good portion of these kids are already shaking down other kids, selling drugs, stealing, raping, or murdering.

  40. that was mine…sorry for the anon

  41. Marie,

    Just because vouchers are not set up perfectly right now doesn?t mean that they cannot be set up more efficiently.

    Tax credits don?t ?feel? as permanent and do not address the problem of the inner city single mom who simply doesn?t have the money to front. This would also give the opponents of choice ammo for that very reason and other reasons similar to it.

  42. Ray,

    I agree with you that voucher programs could be set up “more efficiently.”

    My response was to your original assertion that “vouchers would end all of this [public] debate” regarding permissible and impermissible forms of discrimination. Actual voucher programs demonstrate that vouchers do not end this debate. Rather, the debate persists with respect to eligibility requirements.

    “Scholarship tax credits” such as those in Arizona, Philadelphia and Florida actually can address the issue of access for low-income parents. Corporations or individuals in these jurisdictions may receive a credit for a donation to a non-profit organization, which then distributes scholarships to needy children.

    Tax credits may not “feel permanent” to you, but they have as good a record of longevity as voucher programs do. I am unaware of any educational tax credit that has been revoked.

  43. Marie,

    On the ?feeling? of it, vouchers are going to be, essentially, money handed to the parents and thus more of a political liability to try and revoke.

    Tax credits are still a little tough because I cannot afford, right now, to donate to the K thru 12 my own church runs. I?m in Arizona and a good number of people in the church do donate (the school is not eligible for actual vouchers because of restrictions on religion) but I personally cannot donate any money.

    Point being is a loss of control whereas a voucher is both 1) money up front ? take it where you want and 2) it is more difficult to revoke simply because of the psychological factor mentioned above.

  44. Gospodin Tievsky: I’m not keen on having this thread drift further into the private schools vs. public schools Rock-’em-Sock-’em-Robots circular debate. I will mention that I’m unsold on the notion that private schools consistently do a measurably better job across the full spectrum of the student population, or that the private school models that do work well would continue to do so once the pool of high-caliber teachers they cherry-pick from is exhausted.

  45. Koppelman,

    Then you don’t understand the basic premise of competition in the free market.

    Every individual private school would not be the best school but neither would you be forced to send your children there.

    And a more competitive market for your children’s education would bring about a more competitive market for Good teachers. You’re thinking in terms of a fixed number of pieces to this pie.

  46. Koppelman,

    Also, what do you think this is about anyway? Someone’s opinion on homosexuals?

    What is allowed under the aegis of “public” education and what is not allowed is the very crux of the matter. Now, if we were allowed a choice. . .

  47. Ray: it seems to be a matter of whether segregation of some kind is allowed in public education and the boundaries thereof, and to some extent how similar questions would be handled by private education. I don’t see where the performance public schools vs. private ones enters into this.

  48. Funny, I was in one of the magnet programs, and we (a class ~80% white, me included) were sent to one of the poorest neighborhoods in our county (the school, and county both ~80% black). This, of course caused tensions (having the “smart”, majority white, kids shipped into the “not-so-smart”, majority black, kids’ home). Needless to say many fights ensued. Needless to say, the small nerdly class was on the losing end. We truly faced “constant harrassment, real violence and physical threats, and complicty from the school administration.”

    Sorry to the long background, but I can’t help but laugh at the fact that we were put into that situation by the state. And now New York is trying to ensure that won’t happen (to a special few).

  49. Put into a single post, dealing with one issue I started but didn’t entirely finish, and entirely sepperate from all the other issues addressed in this thread:

    Why is race not an acceptable trait to congregate or voluntarily segregate based on, but both more and less meaningful than so many other apparently acceptable things? Gender even occassionally strangely creaps in here…whereas few if any oppose people voluntarily segregating/congregating according to political or religious beliefs, common interests/hobbies (like a chess club), or support of sports teams.

    Why? Why is race or gender or sexual orientation so special, other than for rather purely historical reasons? Opposing oppression and cruelty and violence I understand – voluntary congregation and segregation, I fail to recognise as in any way valid.

    It’s as if just a bunch of whites got together that it would inevitably become a chapter of the KKK (rather than the KKK merey being white people that got together – universal affirmatives can only be partially converted), but, depending on what particular opinion one has, a meeting of only blacks either would or would not inevitably become a Black Panthers affiliate or start rioting and looting.

    A seemingly popular sort of thing to believe, but it is not at all sensible, logical, or reasonable.

  50. We’ll never learn to live together as long as the State treats us as if we live apart.

  51. OK, maybe a David Kelley drama isn’t the way to go. Is “Some Like It Hot” meets “Square Pegs” a better High Concept?

    Richard, a suburban Goth-lite with National Merit Scholar potential is getting his hinder kicked daily by the jocks at Gov. Jesse Ventura H.S. His exasperated, if rather clueless, parents, get him transferred to the “special school” in his district, James Buchanan High, under the impression that it is a “safe environment for the gifted.” School counselors treat Richard’s protestations of heterosexuality as deep closeting, brought on by myriad bashings. His straight nature is known only to his new friends. Josh, a hyper-ambitious would-be Cameron Crowe who, while also really straight, has transferred in to gather material for a book he plans to write, guaranteed to make him the lead guest on a Jerry Springer episode, and to get him, he thinks, into a prestigious college. (Think Alex Keaton meets Chloe Sullivan,) Also clued in is his “Skippy” – Garrett, a flaming poofter at school, but passing as straight at home, in Josh’s neighborhood. Garrett’s parents recommended JBHS to Josh’s, of course. Just because, Josh has an immense crush on Danielle, Garrett’s beautiful, rock-chick sister, and is astounded by the ease with which he can chat her up, once she “knows” that he is “safe.”

    Hikinks ensue.

    Good for 2 episodes on the WB Friday night, before it gets’s vaporized in the Nielsens.

    Kevin

  52. *Hijinks.*

    Hijinks ensue. Hikinks will only ensue if the WB turns it down, and HBO picks it up.

    Kevin

  53. Koppelman, you needn’t address vouchers/private schools if you don’t want to, but you haven’t addressed the one issue that I have consistently touched upon: whether there are problems in resurrecting “separate but equal,” even with good intent.

  54. There are problems with what you call “resurrecting ‘separate but equal'”. Sure. Since this is voluntary segregation–and only for interventions in extreme cases at this point–the danger is in a return to Jim Crow segregation by having an advantaged class (whites? the affluent? the native-born?) flee to its own selective schools for reasons other than the dire child-welfare issues driving the current batch of “segregated” schools.

    Yep. It’s an issue. It’s a problem. But it’s only a dealbreaker if you approach government and law as a yes/no logic game, which it isn’t, except to adherents to one by no means mandated approach to the bench. That’s why we have human judges and not Turing machines sitting in courts. I there’s more than enough room in the laws and court decisions that ended segregation-as-it-was to allow for programs like this without obliterating integration as a guiding principle.

  55. There seems to be a very strange reaction indeed going on here from many people, in that one bad idea justifies another.

    I’m going to be perhaps the first person to say this, so here goes:

    If someone wants to set up an all-white school, that people can choose on their own to attend, my only objection is to the school system as a whole, not to their particular choices. In short, I shall ask this question: what on earth would be so bad about people voluntarily segregation themselves upon, well, any basis? I predict lots of opposition on this, so this will be a long post.

    Thing is, they already do. Like it or not, America as a whole, when they have a choice, with a remarkably high degree of predictability (not 100%), already segregates themselves. People with white skin and people with black skin, by in large, choose to live in neighborhoods which are primarily of their own race, go to church’s that are the same, in many cases go to entertainment events that are the same, social events that are the same, etc.

    We already have schools that are “white” – it’s just that there are always a couple of black students (1 or 2) that make them something other than all-white. Just the same, there are schools that are “black” – usually with the same complement of white students who, for some reason, have elected to go to that particular school. You might think I mean “private” schools, but I don’t. Public schools are “primarily” one race or the other not out of necessity, but out of choice. The prices of real estate even change to reflect changing racial compositions.

    And those involved needn’t do it intentionally, but they could if they chose to. In short, if you want to get your kid into a “99.9% purely [white | black]” school, you just move to a similarly color-coded neighborhood. This was recognised and attempted to be remedied by school busing and such, but you know what? People can just move to another neighborhood that doesn’t have busing, if they actively wanted their child to live in color-coded schools. Even if they don’t, far more people move around based upon the quality of the school, and that too, sadly, has the effect color-coding neighborhoods and schools (as, for reasons I do not pretend to know with any certainly, whiteness or blackness is statistically significant in being able to predict scholastic achievements).

    Furthermore, what seems to be simply ignored is that humans, especially children, behave badly in regards to any given local minority (I don’t mean “racial minority”, just “minority”) . Most of the kids “average” (largely conforming and generally unexeptional, vanilla, all so very similar intellectually)? Then they pick on the particularly smart and the particularly dumb. Most white? Pick on the blacks. Most Christian? Hope you aren’t a pagan. Most hetero? Gay bashing shall ensue – that I’m rather sure of, as a child I engaged both in non-christian and gay bashing, right along with about everyone else in school.

    You know, this kind of shit really isn’t good for people’s mental or physical wellness. It doesn’t “toughen them up” – it litterally changes who they are as a person. Children genearlly believe what they hear and have not developed a full and steadfast sense of self (who they are as a person), and if they hear that they are worthless, stupid, unlovable, evil, vile things which are beneath other people and don’t deserve dignity and respect, do you know what they will almost invariable come to believe? They will internalise what they hear and even when the taunting and abuse stops externally they will continue it internally, as they indeed have come to believe and accept that they are worthless, stupid, unlovable, evil, vile things that are beneath other people and don’t deserve dignity and respect.

    Further, as social animals, humans simply do not react well to being outcasts and ridiculed (rejected). They will either become what they are told they are, pick up the axe themselves and oppress others out of anger, hurt, and coldness (how can one learn empathy in an environment where one is abused?), act out in a variety of unpleasant ways, or simply kill themselves if they cannot escape the pain and torture.

    Would it be preferable just to solve this problem itself, rather than allow or finance segregation? Yeah, that’d be nice. Tell me how, precisely, operationally that will be done, when it will be done by, and who will do it, and I’ll fully support it, and when done I might just be against these public funded voluntary segregations. But we must deal with the cards we are dealt and react according to the environment we live under but did not ourselves, as individuals, choose to create. While I am aware of efforts, such as by Dr Phil McGraw and his eldest son, the fact remains that _this has not been done_. Abuse continues to exist, largely unabated, and incredibly and sickeningly often the administrators actually JOIN IN or turn a blind eye to it.

    When children are so abused they not only have to deal with the abuse, but with the fact that those who are supposed to care about them and protect them are doing absolutely nothing, as judged by RESULTS. They go to school, day after day, and are subject to the same abuse – they are entirely rejected by nearly everyone, ignored if it’s a good day, and taunted, ridiculed, and intimidated if they weren’t so lucky (such abusers tend, on the whole, to be smart enough to know that violence might actually have nasty consequences, such as being expelled – but you can say anything you want, and not only might those in charge not even find out, but they won’t do anything even if they do). And those who supposedly love them and are suppose to protect them don’t, and they have neither the physical capacity nor the learning nor the skills to understand why, and to not have such things deeply and fundamentally bother them (who wouldn’t be deeply harmed by such treatment?); and the scars do not end in childhood, but contaminate every relationship they will have, and their sense of self, all the way into adulthood, and often for their whole lives.

    Children are not adults; they do not have the defenses that adults do. Children can be taught and develop such defenses naturally, such that they will have them once they become adults. You don’t teach a kid to swim by drowning him; we don’t teach children to drive by putting them in front of a wheel, with no instruction whatsoever, and insisting that they drive. And you sure as hell don’t teach someone to deal with abuse by abusing them or permitting them to be abused. Strength is built up, not scarred, beaten, and abused into existance.

    We don’t have abuse-free schools. Shocking, but we don’t have them. We should have them; if we had a free market in education we would have had them long ago; but the fact that remains is we don’t have them. We don’t have a free market in education, but children still have to go to school, and it is not acceptable that they be abused and made to be depressed, humiliated, and often permanently damaged. It appears that one way to deal with this successfully is just to allow people who are the same in some particular way congregate; that’s why chess clubs often form in the first place – because at least those kids are similar to each other in ways that so many of the other kids aren’t. At least someone will accept you as you are, even if everyone else doesn’t.

    It’s a pretty piss poor bandage when compared to the other solutions, but it would seem that the other solutions require far more influence and power and resources than this one, and it would seem those who have the sufficient resources aren’t doing a very good job of getting the better solutions implemented.

    If I were in such a position, I’d just homeschool my child. The schools are just too piss poor, and this is merely one item on a long list of examples. But that isn’t exactly the prefered solution for many people, and it isn’t available to everyone anyway (pretty much have to stay home with them to get it done optimally, which means not working, which means you are either rich, have a family to help you, or somehow have managed to avoid the big fat constantly unfolding failure of marital-social relations in this country – or are otherwise particularly ingenious).

    So it seems that given the resources required and the system we so far have, a gay school isn’t all that terrible. I’d prefer if it was just “primarily gay”, but then I don’t much care.

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