Although Chicago Mayor Richard Daley insisted during a recent interview that he had nothing to do with the Chicago Board of Education's decision to delay a vote on a proposed gay-friendly high school, he did express his concern about the plan, calling it 'controversial' and suggesting it would isolate LGBTQ youth.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Daley said that the board put off a vote on the proposed Social Justice High School Pride Campus because it needs to 'work out' whether or not the creation of an LGBTQ-friendly public high school is a form of segregation. Daley's concern is one of the arguments used by Pride Campus opponents here in Chicago—even among the local LGBT community. It was also an argument used several years ago by those opposed to the creation of New York's Harvey Milk high school.
'You have to look at whether or not you isolate and segregate children,' Daley told the Sun-Times. Daley added: 'It's controversial. Some people are for it. Some are against it—The Board of Education has to make the decision whether it's good for isolating children.'
The mayor has been a longtime supporter of LGBT issues.
Last week, the Board of Education announced its decision to put off an Oct. 22 vote on five proposed schools slated to open in 2010, including the Pride Campus, until a Nov. 19 meeting.
Previously, Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan came out in support of the Pride Campus, citing high drop out rates among LGBTQ youth.
Three public hearings were held during September and October regarding the proposed Pride Campus. At each hearing, the response to a public high school open to all students but tailor-made for LGBTQ youth and their allies was overwhelmingly positive. Very few individuals stated concerns.