Questionable Purposes

As you might expect, New York City has high schools that cater to students with special talents and interests. One is the Bronx High School of Science. Since its founding in 1938, it has produced five Nobel Prize winners in physics and countless other scientists and physicians. Another is the La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts. Its graduates include many actors and performers, including Adrien Brody, who won this year's Oscar for Best Actor. This fall, a new special interest high school will be added to the list, but its purpose isn't nearly as noble as the others'. The new high school is the Harvey Milk School, being billed as the nation's first accredited public high school for students who are "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning their sexuality . . . " The stated purpose for this school is to protect gay teenagers from harassment. David Mensa, the head of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which will run the school, calls it a "safe haven." But that's not all it will be. Hetrick-Martin's curriculum is also intended to teach the kids "the history of our people" -- that is, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "everybody feels that [the school is] a good idea." That's a clear indication that he needs to talk to more people. State Senator Rubén Díaz (D-32nd), who is also head of the New York Hispanic Clergy Association, told a hearing that "public funding should not be used to segregate kids." Other critics pointed to the costs of opening such a school during the city's fiscal crisis. Michael Long, head of the New York Conservative Party, asked if "there [is] a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math?" Regarding the need for a "safe haven," he replied that maybe "chubby kids" and kids who wear glasses should get their own schools also. It does seem ironic, sort of odd, that gays are demanding rights to marriage and to be treated like everyone else, yet they want a segregated school. Why? The safety issue is only a pretext. The words questioning their sexuality and talk about "the history of our people" reveal what the principal purpose of Harvey Milk is: It is to reinforce the students' gay identity. What makes such a purpose especially outrageous is that teenagers are, by definition, on their way to becoming something else. This is particularly true in sexual matters, where the adolescent proclivity for experimentation is well known. Taxpayers ought not to be subsidizing a program whose purpose is to lock them into an identity they may otherwise grow out of. But that is what's happening. As is so often the case, claims of violence and intimidation are used to further an ideological and social agenda. And those who have the courage to point this out are scorned and called bigots. The truth remains that schools like this are a testament, not to our concern for our children, but to our willingness to bow before currently fashionable ideologies. It's that willingness, and not some kid's sexuality, that we ought to be questioning. For further reading and information: Carl Campanile, "School's 'Out'," New York Post, 28 July 2003. Michael Long, "Gay high school unfair and unwise," New York Daily News, 31 July 2003. Cynthia Needham and Luis Perez, "City Defends Gay High School," New York Newsday, 31 July 2003. Elizabeth Armstrong, "First school for gay students draws dollars and criticism," Christian Science Monitor, 5 August 2003. "Gay High School," ABC News, 28 July 2003. See Hetrick-Martin Institute's information about the Harvey Milk School. Armstrong Williams, "Is Harvey Milk High School really a good idea?", 6 August 2003. Robert Knight, "Promoting Homosexuality at the Expense of School Children," Culture and Family Institute, 30 July 2003. Gladys Sweeney, Ph.D., "Catholic Schools, Teens, and Homosexuality: The Truth Will Set Them Free," NARTH, 18 October 2002 (a book review of Being Gay and Lesbian in a Gay High School by Michael Maher). "The Way God Made Them?" -- This "Worldview for Parents" page addresses how to answer kids' questions about homosexuality. The BreakPoint Worldview Survival Kit for Students is filled with books, brochures, and other materials to help your high school or college student grapple with cultural issues from a biblical worldview -- all packaged in a useful canvas satchel with a water bottle from the Wilberforce Forum.


Chuck Colson


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