NEW YORK - A school in New York's Greenwich Village will reopen in September as America's first publicly run high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, officials said on Monday.
Although The Harvey Milk School has been operating with two classrooms for 20 years, $3.2 million is being spent by the City to expand it to take 100 students. Named after a gay San Francisco politician assassinated in 1978, the school will be funded jointly by the city education department and a gay rights youth advocacy group.
"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 and this lets them get an education without having to worry," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters at his daily briefing on Monday.
But the head of the New York State Conservative Party said the school was a waste of tax dollars.
"This makes absolutely no sense," Long told the New York Post newspaper. "There's no reason these children should be treated separately."
The school's first principal is William Salzman, a former Wall Street executive who has recently worked as an assistant high school principal.
Salzman was quoted in Monday's New York Post as saying, "This school will be a model for the country and possibly the world."
It will specialize in computer technology, art and culinary programs. It will also follow the education department's new mandatory English language and mathematics programs.
© Reuters Limited 2003