In Atlanta, Ga., a small and dedicated group of organizers is busily creating the city’s first and only private school especially for gay — or lesbian, or bisexual or transgender — kids as young as pre-kindergarten.
The full-time school will be called Pride School Atlanta, local NBC affiliate WXIA reports.
Organizers are still trying to raise sufficient funds, but they hope to open the school’s doors in the fall of 2015. Tuition is projected to be $12,000 per year for each student.
“I want a place where queer and trans families can bring their kids and not have to worry about being the token lesbian family or the token gay family,” Christian Zsilavetz, a chief founder, said, according to Pink News.
Zsilavetz explained that he believes Atlanta needs a school where gay students are segregated from the general student population because too many children are bullied and taunted for their sexual preferences.
“It’s an intentional safe space for kids for youth who want to learn and not have to worry about homophobic remarks every day,” Zsilavetz said, according to WXIA.
The school will initially enroll students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Prior to his efforts to found Pride School Atlanta, Zsilavetz was a math teacher, according to his Facebook profile. He has spent time teaching in Washington state and New Jersey.
Another person working to establish Pride School Atlanta is Kara Vona, another teacher. Vona claimed that some students are unable to learn at school because they are gay, says WXIA.
“It’s not going to make everything better for every kid everywhere,” she told the station. “This is a small school that’s going to serve a small community but it’s going to serve them really well.”
The Pride School Atlanta website conspicuously notes that the school will not discriminate.
“Pride School Atlanta admits students of any race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, affectional preference, sexual orientation, marital or relationship status, gender identity or gender expression to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school,” a statement reads. “Pride School Atlanta does not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, affectional preference, sexual orientation, marital or relationship status, gender identity or gender expression. This policy applies to all aspects of the educational environment including admissions, hiring, educational programs and services, tuition reduction and extracurricular activities.”
Pride School Atlanta also has a motto: “Finally, a school where you can be yourself…and breathe.”
Negotiations are ongoing, but the currently-proposed location of the school will be Rock Springs Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.