Gay friendly school dead for now

  • By Paul D. Bowker
  • Education reporter
  • November 19, 2008 @ 10:06 AM

Backers of a proposed gay friendly public high school withdrew their plans from consideration by the Chicago Board of Education late yesterday. 

The proposal was scheduled to be considered today by the Chicago Board of Education, along with four other new school proposals.

In a statement released last night, the design team says the school proposal changed after an Oct. 8 public hearing, and that they need another year to finalize their plans.

The design team says it is still projecting a fall 2010 opening, and would seek board approval sometime next year. 

The design team includes Chad Weiden, assistant principal at Greater Lawndale Village School for Social Justice; Bill Greaves, director and community liaison of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations’ advisory council on lesbian, gay and transgender issues; a University of Illinois-Chicago professor, and two CPS officials.

“We respect the decision of the design team, and we look forward to them re-submitting the proposal in ’09,” CPS officials said in a statement.

Weiden says feedback at two public hearings was generally positive, but comments beame heated over the last month. Two city residents spoke out against the school at the October board meeting, calling it sinful.

Weiden insists the school was never proposed as a gay school, but as a “gay friendly” school that would be open to all city students on the basis of a citywide lottery. The school’s focus was to provide a supportive environment for all students, regardless of sexual orientation.

Paul Bowker, a Chicago-area journalist with 25 years of experience, covers Chicago Public Schools for the Daily News.