There's an interesting local story developing on bullying and harassment of LGBT youth in Chicago Public Schools. The bullies: Teachers. To complicate matters, the openly gay schools chief has been described as not taking the issue "seriously."
District policy prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation but many students want a formal complaint process against faculty and staff accused of harassment and bias. Last Tuesday, LGBT students and activists with Gender JUST rallied outside CPS headquarters, reports ChicagoPride.com.
"Brian, a recent graduate, said that when he stood up for himself in class after being ridiculed for being gay by a teacher, he was suspended, but the teacher was not punished. 'There was no repercussions on her part,' he said. 'It went on my report and she got off scot-free.' A 2007 graduate of Roosevelt High School, who identifies as a lesbian with a disability, also shared her experience with her peers. 'They (faculty) discouraged me and pushed me away,' she said. 'I wish we had ways to speak up. We need to give students a voice when they face oppression in the school system.'"
More photos of the protest and the student activists—it's an incredibly diverse group—are HERE.
Co-founder Sam Finkelstein says after several meeting there is still no action. CPS blames the current budget crisis but activists fear "outside pressures from right wing groups like Illinois Family Institute" have made openly gay CPS CEO Ron Huberman very cautious. Says Finkelstein: "We don't think they are taking us too seriously. Especially in the context of these budget cuts, it's even more important to address these issues."
These are just the latest reports of Chicago-area teachers using homophobic language and/or harassing gay students. Last October, a teacher in far-suburban Geneva was reprimanded after ranting against "black fags" during a lesson on public arts funding.