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First public gay high school to open in NYC

Harvey Milk High School will open in this newly renovated New York City building in the fall.
Harvey Milk High School will open in this newly renovated New York City building in the fall.

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Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announces New York will open a high school where gays can feel safe. CNN's Peter Viles (July 28)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City is creating the nation's first public high school for gays, bisexuals and transgender students.

The Harvey Milk High School will enroll about 100 students and open in a newly renovated building in the fall. It is named after San Francisco's first openly gay city supervisor, who was assassinated in 1978.

"I think everybody feels that it's a good idea because some of the kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday. "It lets them get an education without having to worry."

The school is an expansion of a two-classroom public school program that began in 1984. A gay-rights youth advocacy group, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, has managed and financed the program since its inception.

The new school's principal, William Salzman, said the school will be academically challenging and will follow mandatory English and math programs. It also will specialize in computer technology, arts and culinary arts.

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long criticized the creation of the school.

"Is there a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math? This is wrong," Long said. "There's no reason these children should be treated separately."

The Hetrick-Martin Institute's Web site says the school will give its students "an opportunity to obtain a secondary education in a safe and supportive environment. ... We believe that success requires the ability to respect and value the diverse human community."



Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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