By: Krystle Crossman
Atlanta, Georgia will be opening a first-of-its-kind school in September of 2016. It caters to a specific group and is meant to help alleviate the pressure and bullying that these particular students have had to endure. Pride School Atlanta will be a K-12 school for LGBT teens. It will be a place where they can learn without the fear of bullying. Transgender teacher and founder of the Pride School Atlanta, Christian Zsilavetz, says that it will be a school where students don’t have to be afraid to be themselves around the teachers and where the teachers can be themselves as well.
Bullying in public schools has been a serious issue for many years. However in recent years the bullying has become more focused on LGBT teens than ever before. It gets to the point where they are afraid to go to school because they know that they are going to be picked on or worse. Many students over the last decade have even taken their own lives because of the bullying. Pride School Atlanta hopes to change the way that LGBT teens see school. They want the students to know that it is okay to be who they want to be and love who they want to love. Many of the teachers are LGBT as well which helps to put the students at ease. There is no judgement, just freedom and education.
When a student feels comfortable with their teachers and advisors they are more likely to talk about any problems that they are having as opposed to keeping it all inside. There are less incidents of suicide, attempted suicide, or self-harm. They know that they have someone that they can trust on their side. The students are able to release their emotions before they become too overwhelmed with it all. Zsilavetz states that this is one of the most important reasons as to why Pride School Atlanta was formed.
There are other schools in the U.S. that cater to LGBT students, such as the Harvey Milk School in New York City. What makes Pride School Atlanta different is that they are less structured than the other schools and take a different approach, much like that of a charter school. The tuition is $13,000 per year but there is financial aid available to those who may need it. Students who have already applied to enroll are excited at the thought of attending a school where they are free to be who they are without the threat of bullying.
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