Decision on Chicago’s LGBT high school delayed

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The Chicago school board will not vote on plans for a high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans students until next month.

A decision was expected to be taken today, but has been delayed until November 19th.

Chicago’s head of public schools Arne Duncan outlined plans for a possible gay school in the city earlier this month.

The school would be a measure to combat high rates of suicide and depression amongst gay and lesbian students.

Mr Duncan hopes to create a school where half the students are LGBT and all students would have an interest in social justice. He said:

“If you look at national studies, you see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates, studies show they are disproportionately homeless,” he said.

“I think there is a niche there we need to fill.”

The school would be called the Pride Campus of Social Justice High School, and would accommodate 600 students.

The school’s curriculum would promote learning about gay and lesbian “heroes” such as writers Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin.

Planners hope for the school to open in 2010 if the Chicago Public Schools board allows the establishment to go ahead.

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama was formerly an Illinois state senator, representing parts of Chicago.

When pressed for a comment on the proposals for the gay school last week, the Obama campaign remained evasive, issuing this statement:

“Senator Obama believes we must work to ensure that all schools foster an environment free of violence, harassment and bullying, and he has introduced legislation to keep our schools safe.”