Queer kids in Atlanta recently had a new school open just for them! It’s called Pride School Atlanta, it’s a K-12 private school — the first LGBTQ-centered school in Georgia — and the only such school in the south. For now it’s operating out of a Unitarian Universalist church, but it’s hoping to be fully operational by September.
Progressive transgender educator Christian Zsilavetz founded Pride School Atlanta (or PSA for short). The 45-year old math teacher has been fundraising since last year to get the school doors open.
The school’s mission is pretty straightforward:
“to provide LGBTQQIAA students, families and educators a safe, fun and rigorous learning environment free of homophobia and transphobia – a place that honors their identities so they can be themselves, find themselves, and find friends and mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of life and education.”
“I think right now what a lot of (LGBT) students face is separate but equal education in the public schools,” Zsilavetz says. “Because if you can’t go to the bathroom all day and you can’t use the locker room and you’re bullied in the classroom and the teachers aren’t standing up for you, you don’t have a full seat at the table.”
Tuition at the school will most likely be around $13,000 per year, although financial assistance will be available to low-income students. The school will also give students academic freedom, with a flexible curriculum and democratic decision-making processes, according to Zsilavetz. There will be no homework and no standardized testing.
Ross Murray, a programs director for GLAAD, told Yahoo! that the school’s location is important. “I think having a school like this in Atlanta … it means it’s much more regionally connected. If a student does need a place where they can be safe from bullying, from peers who want to harass or harm them, they’re not going to have to travel tons of distance to do that.”
If all goes well, PSA will join a small handful other queer-specific schools including New York’s Harvey Milk School and Milwaukee’s Alliance School.
(featured image via Facebook)
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