New York Post July 28, 2003 --
NEW YORK - The city is opening a full-fledged high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students - the first of its kind in the nation, The Post has learned.
Operating for two decades as a small alternative program with just two classrooms, the new Harvey Milk HS officially opens as a stand-alone public school with 100 students in September.
The school, located at 2 Astor Place, is undergoing a $3.2 million in city-funded renovations approved by the old Board of Education in June of last year. It will eventually take in 170 students by September 2004, more than tripling last year's enrollment.
In the past, Harvey Milk HS - named after the slain gay San Francisco politician - was assigned an "off-site" supervisor who also oversaw several other schools.
"This school will be a model for the country and possibly the world," Principal William Salzman said in an interview at the facility that will boast a new science lab, 60 laptop and desktop computers donated by IBM, additional classrooms and a new cafeteria.
"This is a not a touchy-feely situation," Salzman said. "We intend to have 95 percent of our students go on to college. We have a lot of talent coming into the school. We want to steer these kids in the right direction."
State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long blasted the school as "social engineering" that wastes tax dollars.
"Is there a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math? This is wrong. This makes absolutely no sense," Long said. "There's no reason these children should be treated separately."
"What next? Maybe we should have schools for chubby kids who get picked on. Maybe all kids who wear glasses should have special schools. It's ridiculous," he said.