An LGBT school plans to open in Atlanta in September of 2016. The very first of it’s kind, a private school geared towards attracting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and teachers is in the process of being built for students who have been getting bullied in traditional schools.
For now it’s called, “Pride School Atlanta”, started by Christian Zsilavetz, Christian says, “Pride School Atlanta” will be a K-12 institution that will be open to ANY student who believes they’re not getting the support they need for “being different”.
Zsilavetz tells AJC, “Kids have full permission to be themselves — as well as educators. Where there’s no wondering, ‘Is this teacher going to be a person for me to be myself with?'” said Zsilavetz, who is transgender and a veteran teacher with nearly 25 years of experience. “This is a place where they (students) can just open up and be the best person they can be.”
Tuition for this school will be around $13,000 and financial assistance will be available to students in need. The school will first open at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta church in the Brookhaven/Buckhead area. The school will be modeled after The Harvey Milk school in New York City.
“There’s a number of kids who come from the South … migrating to places like New York and other cities because they feel like it’s more tolerant for them,” said Ross Murray, programs director, global and U.S. South, for gay rights group GLAAD.
“They should be able to stay in their homes, their communities. I think having a school like this in Atlanta … it means it’s much more regionally connected. If a student does need a place where they can be safe from bullying, from peers who want to harass or harm them, they’re not going to have to travel tons of distance to do that.”
Zsilavetz says, “When (LGBT) kids can see you, when they know that they can come to you, they’re less likely to die (or be suicidal), for one,” Zsilavetz said. “They’re less likely to get pregnant, when they don’t really want to get pregnant. They’re less likely to get into drugs and alcohol and into depression.”
Take Emma Grace a 16 year old, high school drop-out who heard about Pride School and is excited to attend. She is currently home-schooled, and says she was bullied at the public schools she attended and that teachers and counselors did very little to stop it.
“I think it’s greatly needed for a school to have LGBT-affirming surroundings and environment,” she said. “It’s still very much a hidden issue. Not a lot people talk about it because they’re afraid.”
Nearly 9 in 10 LGBT students report experiencing harassment within the last school year according to, Georgia Equality.