Chicago’s first gay-friendly high school off the agenda

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Backers of the creation of a high school for gay pupils have asked the Chicago Board of Education to postpone the plan as they consider how to implement it.

It was due for discussion by the board on Wednesday, but on Tuesday planners asked for it to be taken off the agenda.

Earlier this month organisers appeared to change the plan to include all disenfranchised pupils.

The School for Social Justice Pride Campus became Solidarity Campus. It is thought this proposal dismayed many backers of the gay school.

“There are some members of the design team who felt it was watered down too much and there was not enough consensus . . . to move forward as it stood,” Chicago Schools spokesman Michael Vaughn told the Chicago Tribune.

The Mayor of Chicago and some gay groups had expressed concern about the idea. Gay high schools already exist in New York and Los Angeles.

Supporters said they will bring new plans before the school board next year.

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

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

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

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.