- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003

NEW YORK — The nation’s first public high school for homosexuals will open here in September with the blessing of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Harvey Milk High School, actually an extension of an experimental homosexual program that has existed since 1984, will be located in the East Village. Officials said about 170 students are expected to enroll.

The announcement was made as the city faces one of the most serious budget deficits in its history and New Yorkers are being assessed with an array of new taxes and fees.

At a City Hall briefing, Mr. Bloomberg said, “I think everybody feels that it’s a good idea because some of he kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools.

“It let them get an education without having to worry. It solves a discipline problem. And from and pedagogical point of view, this administration and previous administrations have thought it was a good idea and we’ll continue with that.”

The mayor’s remarks drew fire from pro-family groups and conservatives.

“It’s an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Michael Long, chairman of the New York Conservative Party, who is considering a lawsuit against the city.

He said the establishment of a homosexual public school is a segregation issue.

“What are the criteria for being a teacher or a principal? Do they have to be gay? Will straight students be allowed to enroll if they live across the street?” he asked. “Do they go on to all-gay colleges and work environments because they are harassed?”

Orthodox Jewish groups particularly are outraged by the city’s approval of a school for homosexual, bisexual and transgender students. Rabbi David Eidensohn, head of the National Council of Pro-Family Activists, said the idea that homosexuals are brutalized by nonhomosexuals has been a major weapon to promote the idea that homosexuality is normal, rather than a disease.

“What is happening here?” he asked. “I have a deeply held belief in the Bible, which advances traditional values, and I believe homosexuality is wrong. I send my child to school and he comes home with a textbook that tells him homosexuality is fine. What about protection for religion?”

Rabbi Yehuda Levin of Jews for Morality echoed his words.

“Bloomberg is a downright antifamily crusader,” Mr. Levin said. “I call him a ‘homosexualist,’ someone who advances the cause of homosexuality by foisting it upon the populace.”

The genesis of the homosexual high school was in the Hetrik-Martin Institute, a homosexual-rights advocacy group financed by private funds. William Salzman, the new school’s principal said in addition to mandatory courses, students can specialize in computer science, the arts and cooking.

Mr. Salzman, a former Wall Street executive, previously served as assistant principal of guidance and business at Brooklyn’s Automotive High School.

The school is named after Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly homosexual city supervisor. He was fatally shot in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone.

The Archdiocese of New York and the superintendent of its school system had no comment.

“Homosexuality is a compulsion,” Mr. Eidensohn said. “If you have young students with a compulsion who go around soliciting sex, there will be violence. But public schools are saying it’s fine to have compulsions and go around with strange men and engage them in sex. And if the person he approaches punches him in the nose, he’s a homophobe.”

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