I am so torn on this issue.
On one hand, I can SO understand the wish of the kids and parents of wanting a place that is theirs to feel safe and belong. I think the difference between this and black segregation is that segregation was forced and that those kids had no choice - whereas this is offering kids a safe haven.
My son is not gay, he has Asperger's. But he has experienced much of the same type of bullying because he is so different. I am part of an Autism Spectrum support group for families, and those of us that have kids with Asperger's and other high functioning Autism experience the bullying A LOT. Our kids are intelligent anough to want
to fit in, and try to, but can't figure out how. It is painful to watch them sometimes. And then other kids are cruel to anyone who is different. I have seen Michael get into many fights. But he is not so bad off, because he is 6 feet tall and 190 pounds of pure muscle. Kids that bully him, thinking he is going to be an easy target have just about gotten killed. I am not proud of that, it has landed him in the hospital for violent behavior, but it has assured that he does not get bullied much anymore.
But there is this tiny little girl that is my daughter's age (12), she is adorable, brilliant, and gets into fights all the time because of bullying. But because she is so much smaller, she is still a nice "target". She fights back, but it is not a deterrent. It has, however landed her in detention and in-school-suspension tons of times. The kids that hits back is the one that always gets caught.
I can so easily picture a school for our kids. A place where they are safe, where other kids understand exactly
what they are going through, why their life is so difficult. A place where they feel safe and don't dread going every day - where they are not the "weird" kids.
And I imagine that is exactly how these children and parents in the gay/lesbian community must feel.
Long story short, if we remove students from the situation instead of standing up to it, what do we teach them? NOTHING! Make those in charge who do nothing and those who are the bully get in trouble
THIS is the downside. They do have to join the "real world" one day. If they are never "innoculated" against bigotry, then how will they handle it when they have to face it in their jobs and day-to-day life when their parents are not there to protect them.
On the flip side, how do we teach the rest of the community about accepting those that are different if we always separate our kids into groups? How do the kids learn that there is no difference if they are treated differently?
I don't have answers. I know for me, we decided after one year of Homeschooling to protect Michael, that he needed to be back in the public school system in order to learn how to interact with the world. (He wanted this, too.) He could learn book-stuff anywhere, he's brilliant. What he was lacking was social skills. He could not learn that if I kept him sheltered at home. But like I said, he's pretty good at protecting himself. Not everyone can.