By Sasha Lindsay-Ramnarine
A controversial proposal for a gay-centric high-school in Toronto has been put on hold for a year, following a discussion in downtown Toronto Wednesday.
Fan Wu, a 20-year-old university of Toronto student put forward his proposal Wednesday at Toronto’s 519 Church Street Community Centre.
“My general perspective on the proposal is that it is an extremely worthwhile initiative. Having a high school program that is focused especially for LGBTQ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) students makes perfect sense,” said Maureen Carnegie, co-ordinator of disability services at Humber College.
Carnegie said the issues that the LGBTQ community face warrant the creation of a gay-centric high school.
“There are high rates of suicide, significant bullying, homophobic incidents that put this group of young people at significant risk,” said Carnegie.
LISTEN: Carnegie explains ways to increase awareness and sensitivity.
“This is certainly a significant at-risk group, who would likely do very well in an environment where they don’t need to be concerned about dealing with those kinds of issues and can focus on their studies as well as being in an environment where LGBTQ is embraced.”
The Toronto District School Board already runs the diversity-friendly Triangle Program at the Oasis Alternative School downtown. The school, which runs from Grade 9-12, teaches its curriculum “through an LGBTQ lens,” CBC News reported.
Following Wednesday’s meeting, Wu’s proposal was put aside until next year, due to a “mixed reaction” according to 680News.
Dr. Rondo Thomas, vice president of the Canada Christian College & School of Graduate Theological Studies, told Humber News that a gay-centric school “is outside the purview of the Toronto District School Board.
“This I think is an idea . . . that simply is not appropriate for the environment of the Toronto School Board or any other school board in our country.”
Richia Bissoondath, communications coordinator at the Toronto District School Board, told Humber News that the TDSB is not affiliated with the gay-centric proposal even though Wu was a 2010 TDSB graduate.
“This was a community meeting and is not hosted by the TDSB,” said Bissoondath. “The TDSB has not endorsed or approved a queer centric school. The process for establishing any school has to be approved by the board.”