?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

I'm worried. I'm starting to have respect for some of my government. I hadn't realised how many Catholics there were in the upper echelons of Canadian politics.
Does this seem like a bad idea do anyone else?

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 01:22 pm (UTC)
Harvey Milk School
No, it does not seem like a bad idea in the slightest.

The Harvey Milk School has existed for almost twenty years now, although it has only been able to sustain about 30 or so students, I believe, in any given year up until this point. These kids either applied to the school because of the extreme harassment they faced in their schools, or, more often, were referred by the schools themselves because the student in question was in physical danger and/or at risk of dropping out because going to school was too painful.

No, it's not a solution to the problem. However, it is a place for kids to go who would otherwise either drop out, or potentially kill themselves. This school is still only an option for about 100 students, which is a drop in the bucket in NYC. It's for the extreme cases, not just any gay kid who wants to go to school with other gay kids.

This is not 'separate but equal.' This is not "normal" schools sending away gay kids so they don't have to deal with them. This is saving lives. This is keeping otherwise intelligent kids from screwing up their chances for the rest of their lives because their so-called peers are making their lives hell.

Yes, society needs to change, but in the meantime, at least 100 gay kids in one city in one state have a chance to get an education away from the abuse heaped on them in other parts of society.

If you want to know more about why this school is not a bad idea, check out the Hetrick-Martin Institute webpage. HMI runs the Harvey Milk School.
thekat03
Jul. 31st, 2003 01:35 pm (UTC)
on one hand, it makes a lot of sense
high school is a very brutal place, where anyone who is too "different" gets teased and picked on constantly
being able to get a good education w/out having to worry about hiding differences could be really beneficial
i've known people who moved their kids to a different school because they were black and there weren't any other black kids in the school they were in
they wanted their kids to not have the stigma of being the only black kids

however, behaviors learned in high school can be awfully hard to erase later
how does a kid learn tolerance to something that's not there?
if all he or she knows is the "weird" kids go to that "weird" school, how does he or she learn that they are just as worth meeting and getting to know as anyone else?
then there's the flipside: how do the "weird" kids learn to deal w/ discrimination when they get sheltered by the "weird" school?
they cant hide in their little communities forever
will they learn to face the real world and all of its injustices?

i can see the benefits of having a separate school for [whatever quirk or difference], but do they outweigh the possible consequences and drawbacks?
its not a solution, but a temporary fix, and when that fix is gone, the basic problems will still be there
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 03:33 pm (UTC)
how does a kid learn tolerance to something that's not there?

We are talking 100 kids from a city of hundreds of thousands. A tiny fraction. Not every single gay kid is going to disappear from public schools. The kids that are going to this school are the ones who are endangered by their present school situation. We're not talking about being called names or bumped into in the halls. We're talking full physical and verbal assault. We're talking scarred for life. We're talking suicide risk.

Kids like me... I'm a gay kid who went to public school... would still be there. We would still participate in our Gay-Straight Alliances and work for acceptance, and put up with the shit. We would show the others that we are not freaks, perverts, whatever. But kids like me can, to an extent, fly under the radar when necessary. Some kids can't. Some kids will drop out for fear of their lives or their sanity. Harvey Milk keeps them in the system, gets them educated so they have the chance to grow up and become productive members of society who can then fight for GLBT acceptance.

Some of these kids are getting no support anywhere else in their lives. Should they be under attack 24/7 just so we can teach other kids a lesson? No. Absolutely not.

So yes, let them go to school and be sheltered for 8 hours out of the day. They'll have to deal with the rest of the world and all of the shit that it throws at them for the other 16. Don't you think they should get a break for 1/3 of their day for 4 years out of their entire lives, so they can learn something and get ahead?
thekat03
Aug. 1st, 2003 09:09 am (UTC)
that makes a lot of sense
i suppose i didnt realize how few or many people would attend such a school until i read your posts
kalivor
Jul. 31st, 2003 01:53 pm (UTC)
I think it's a horrible idea.

The kids who are being picked on get sent away from their normal school, while the bullies stay? I suspect that would reinforce the bullies' worldview. The kid must have deserved the way they were treated because I'm still here, and they're gone.

This would probably discourage other kids from expressing their sexuality. Who would admit that they're gay if the last kid who did so was harassed, then disappeared to a different school, while the bullies stayed?

Also, the idea that most of the kids are sent in that direction instead of going on their own initiative bothers me. I can picture the scenario: Kid is being harassed. Kid goes to guidance counsellors, principal, whoever they should. Kid is told that they should probably leave the school if they're being harassed.

Great policy, that.

Still, I have slightly mixed feelings. The students should have somewhere safe they can go, particularly if they're in physical danger at their current school, and the school can't find a way to protect them from it.

The concept of segregation is just too offensive, though. Any system that sends away somebody who is harassed, while allowing the harassers to stay is disgusting. I'd rather see a school for the narrow-minded and bigoted, so the bullies could be sent away and made to see some sort of sense.
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 03:42 pm (UTC)
This would probably discourage other kids from expressing their sexuality. Who would admit that they're gay if the last kid who did so was harassed, then disappeared to a different school, while the bullies stayed?

You think this doesn't happen anyway, whether the kids get sent away or not? What about the kids who just stop going to school because they're being bullied, and the bullies remain? Don't you think that that's going to discourage other kids from expressing their sexuality?

Also, the idea that most of the kids are sent in that direction instead of going on their own initiative bothers me. I can picture the scenario: Kid is being harassed. Kid goes to guidance counsellors, principal, whoever they should. Kid is told that they should probably leave the school if they're being harassed.

This may change a bit now that there's more than 30 or so students in the school. What no one seems to get, and no one seems to want to listen to, is the fact that these are the EXTREME CASES. These are the 100 kids whose school life is so hellish that it's find an alternative or leave. The kids are sent to Harvey Milk when ALL ELSE FAILS. When all of the guidance counselors and policies and whatnot fail, and there's no saving the kid in their present situation.

This is not segregation. This is NOTHING like blacks in white schools. This is kids dying because no one is doing anything to help them. This is suicide and runaways and dropouts.

A school for the narrow-minded and bigoted? Now that the hell would that do? You can't beat any sense into them without exposure. And they'll get exposure. We're not purging every gay kid from the school system... we're giving a few kids a chance they wouldn't otherwise have.
kalivor
Jul. 31st, 2003 04:11 pm (UTC)
This is a small school, but it's obviously getting a large amount of exposure, given that curgoth's link goes to MetaFilter.

Right now, it's just extreme cases, and when all else fails. I worry that as the school grows, and others pop up, it will become less so. As it stands now, it's a good thing, but one which (I feel) has a future that looks like it might create more problems than those it solves.

ou think this doesn't happen anyway, whether the kids get sent away or not? What about the kids who just stop going to school because they're being bullied, and the bullies remain? Don't you think that that's going to discourage other kids from expressing their sexuality?

I never said that it was. Nor do I have a better solution, though I don't claim to have put much time into trying to think of one. I just feel that any solution in which the victim is removed from the school, while the bully remains is a poor solution.

A school for the narrow-minded and bigoted? Now that the hell would that do? You can't beat any sense into them without exposure. And they'll get exposure. We're not purging every gay kid from the school system... we're giving a few kids a chance they wouldn't otherwise have.

I wasn't suggesting this as a real or workable solution, but it fits better with how our society deals with people who are problems.

You remove the agressor. An adult who attacked somebody would be removed from the community they live in (and put in jail). A school is a community, and those who disrupt the community (sometimes violently) should be the ones removed.

Take them out of the school. Give 'em the Clockwork Orange treatment. I don't know ... as I said, I have no real, workable alternatives at my fingertips.

However, I strongly believe that removing the victim makes them out to be the person with the problem, which is the opposite of the message that ought to be conveyed to the rest of the school.

What's a good solution? I don't know. This one has too many negative ramifications for me to like it, though.
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 04:22 pm (UTC)
What's a good solution? I don't know. This one has too many negative ramifications for me to like it, though.

I don't think you can really make statements like that. The bigger school hasn't even opened its doors yet. Who's to say there will be any negative ramifications?

As for this getting a lot of publicity... sure, yes, because it's expanding. People don't seem to understand the fact that this school has existed since 1984. Where was the bitching and whining about segregation then? Nowhere.

I don't think schools like this are going to be popping up all over. I don't think Harvey Milk will keep expanding. It's practically a miracle that it exists at all, and it exists in (I believe, I don't know exactly figures) the largest city in the United States. You can pretty much bet that there will be no such school anywhere in, say, the Midwest. There is a GLBT magnet-type school in Texas... floundering to stay alive. Harvey Milk gets the publicity because it was the first, and is the largest.

Give the people who run it some credit. Do you think that it's their intention to shelter these kids from the real world indefinitely, or remove all gay kids from public schools? That would be idiotic, and they know it. These are a few people trying to make a difference where they see a need, taking care of kids who have otherwise been thrown away by society.

I know that I'm not going to change your mind on this, but I'll keep fighting in the hopes that someone will start to understand that, whether one likes it or not, societal change is going to be slow in coming, and in the meantime, these kids need help. And the people at He
neeuqdrazil
Jul. 31st, 2003 04:48 pm (UTC)
I think kalivor made his point, though - the negative ramifications are that by removing the victim, it's teaching the bully that their behaviour is okay.

No, I don't think that the kids who are at the school should have to put up with the shit that they would have to put up with in a 'regular' school. But I don't think that removing the victim without some sort of ramification for the bully. And there very well may be, but the end result is the same.

And I don't think that it's the school's intention to shelter these kids forever. Obviously, they care a lot, and are providing a hugely needed service - there was/is a program similar in intent run out of the high school that kalivor and I went to, for street kids and kids who had been expelled - StreetSmart, or StreetWise, or something - I can't remember the name of it. It was a storefront downtown, nowhere near the school, and they were providing a service that was hugely needed.

I don't know. I think that the school is needed, but with the publicity it's getting right now, without the concurrent focus on what is being done with the bullies, it could go downhill really quickly.
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 04:52 pm (UTC)
I doubt the school asked for the publicity.

And the fact of the matter is, some schools don't do anything with the bullies. They don't care enough. So remove the victim before it's a victim of homicide or suicide, rather than just harassment.

Maybe I'm biased. Hell, I know I am. I'm going to grad school to get a Masters in Social Work to work at someplace like Hetrick-Martin. So I'm not moving on my point.
neeuqdrazil
Jul. 31st, 2003 05:13 pm (UTC)
No, I agree, likely the school didn't ask for the publicity.

That some schools don't do anything about the bullies is precisely my point - they should. While they don't, yes, remove the victim. But at the same time, enforce (at the school board level, at the very least) policies to punish bullying and the like, so that it doesn't remain an accepted behaviour.

What this says to me is that there is a systemic problem that just removing the kids from the system isn't going to help.
eternaleponine
Jul. 31st, 2003 05:51 pm (UTC)
What this says to me is that there is a systemic problem that just removing the kids from the system isn't going to help.

To be blunt, "No shit, Sherlock."

And of course they should do something about the bullies, and most schools probably are. However, nothing is foolproof, and nothing is immediate. So while other groups, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), for example, work for systemic change, Hetrick-Martin saves the kids who are falling through the cracks of the systems in flux.

One cannot look at one article and judge the problem/solution from there. Nothing occurs in a vacuum.
thekat03
Aug. 1st, 2003 09:45 am (UTC)
i think what is scary about a separate school for glbt kids isnt what it is now; its what it could be
at its best, which is Harvey Milk now, this school can do wonders for the kids that need it most
however, nothing is static
there is the chance that things could change; that instead of being an opt-in school for a very small percentage of kids, it becomes the "recommended" way to deal with things
other schools, with albeit good intentions, may start recommending that kids who normally would survive their current school just fine transfer even if it isnt neccessary
if this happens, which i think is very possible, there are 3 possibilities that could happen
1) those kids may get turned away because "they dont really need it"
"gee, i'm weird, but not weird enough?" d:
2) those kids are all accepted, causing the school to grow
ideally, the school will scale and be able to accommodate this influx of students, but eventually, they will need more teachers and administration to handle the added load
can they scale to a much larger school and keep up its quality and level of service?
part of what is good about Harvey Milk is it is a very small school, so the handful of people dedicated to saving this kids is enough to do it well
in the past, around 30 kids went to Harvey Milk
now, around 100 will attend
i would assume that it can handle scaling up to this level
but what about 500? 1000?
what if the demands to scale up are greater than the capabilities of Harvey Milk?
if it grows too fast, then its pretty much doomed to drop in quality
3) more schools may form
if Harvey Milk cant grow to accomodate the demand, more schools may pop up, created by people who's intentions may be good, but the implementation might not be up to par with Harvey Milk today
also, with all this publicity, other people are bound to get the idea that other cities need something like this
Los Angeles, Chicago, and other comparably large cities may start to see local glbt schools
sure, at first, they may (ideally once again) start off like Harvey Milk, a small school designed to service the needs of the 1.something percent of the glbt kids that need a safe school
but with more schools, the possibility of corruption, of getting swamped, of becoming "the place to send the queer kids," the victims, etc is greatly magnified

its this potential that is scary
thats not to say that because a special school for glbt kids should be stomped out because of its potential
that would be like stomping out nuclear technology when it was first discovered because of what terrible potential it had, dispite the potential benefits
i dont know if it could be done, and even if it could, i dont think it should
but the risks, the potential for trouble, should be known and recognized
thats the only way that there's a chance to avoid them
eternaleponine
Aug. 1st, 2003 09:53 am (UTC)
::nods:: In that I fully agree with you. There is a potential for trouble. However, I do have faith in the GLBT community who is providing these services to see these potential problems and do their best to avoid them.

I wouldn't say that a smaller-scale school of this type in other large cities (LA in particular) would be amiss, as long as it was implemented properly (as I feel Harvey Milk is doing).

I also have some faith in society... if you can call it faith... that they won't allow these schools to become the norm. Sure, they may not want queer kids in their schools... but they would probably rather have that than these schools being allowed to exist so those Perverted Homosexuals can Convert the Youth of America... or whatever.

I think the biggest problem here isn't with the school at all, but with the reporting that is being done about it. People who are going on about segregation and the like haven't gotten all of the facts, and that's the fault of the reporters, I think. But c'est la vie, I suppose. If we could count oon the media to present things accurately, I don't think the American government would be as messed up as it is... but that's a whole other rant that I won't be getting into. :)
kalivor
Aug. 1st, 2003 01:41 pm (UTC)
*nods*

Another thing that worries me is the way in which politicians and policy makers think. It's very possible that they'll say "Oh good! The problem's being dealt with by Harvey Milk, so let's not waste our time doing anything else." Harvey Milk is a big sign that a lot of fixing needs to be done, but most politicians won't care about that, they just want something to point at that makes it look like the problem's being addressed.

Outside of New York, I worry that politicians that see a similar problem in their own communities will say "Well, why don't we just build a school like Harvey Milk in New York?", and find the worst possible way to implement it.

These things are made much more likely by the media exposure Harvey Milk is currently receiving. I know they didn't ask for it, but it's done.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

September 2016
S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner