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Gay Friendly Schools
My son recently told me he might be gay. He's going to be in high school next year and we have some choices about where to send him to school - We've applied to a couple of private schools and we are in the process of moving and so could include this new information in choosing a neighborhood for public high schools (Berkeley, Marin, Albany?). We ( and he) have wondered before about his sexual orientation so this isn't totally out of the blue, although he's feeling a bit more sure of it. Obviously this can't be our only consideration, but it's a big one. We want him to figure things out for himself, but also to feel safe and supported! I did search for archived information but didn't find much. Thanks in advance for sensitive advice! anonymous
I cannot speak to which school you should send him to, but certainly at public schools there is less tolerence and far lesser resources to deal with the consequences of that intolerance.
I can also tell you that your son telling you that he ''might'' be gay is his way of breaking it to you easily, giving you (subconsciously) the hope that there might be a chance he's not. If he's admitting that he might be, he most definitely is. This is not a choice for him. And you said this is not a surprise for you, indicating that there were signs earlier on. I'm only telling you this so you might have a realistic perception of what's to come. But it sounds like you support him, and I would encourage you to continue on, and just encourage him to be himself and love him no matter what. The best thing you can ever do for him is let him know that you are on his side, gay or not. wish my brothers had parents like you
Check out an open house, and talk to the teachers and students who give presentations. Also, each of my teens were sold on the place after they spent a day visiting classes during 8th grade. They are very different kids, and it has been great for both of them. By spending a day at school, your son will really get a feel for the program. Maybeck is academically rigorous (without being overwhelming), so if your he is a reasonably strong student, it could be a great match. Satisfied parent
OSA is moving into the newly-refurbished Fox Theatre next year, and has a great college-prep curriculum. Students can choose acting, music (instrumental or vocal), dance, visual arts or theater tech as their area of emphasis. There is an audition required for admission. OSA parent
When choosing high schools you might would to ask the administration if there are any ''out'' teachers, staff members (who are usually fantastic resources for the gay, questioning kid); also ask how much school support is there for the GSA, how many active members, how does the school deal with biased/hate comments? Is sexual orientation discussed in classes? Is there a school counselor who kids can talk to about coming out issues. I'd suggest going with a small school like Marin Academy or maybe even CPS. The main thing is you want a place where an adult can keep an eye on him, just to make sure he's doing okay and not being targeted--this is difficult to do in hugh schools like Berkeley High. Although if you think your kid would prefer to be ''anonymous'' Berkeley High could work. Hope this helps. --an ally
Our daughter is still a year from kindergarten, but we are trying to find out where the kids of same sex parents go to school. This question has been asked before, and the responses I have seen are primarily private schools. I want to know the experience of same sex parents (2 moms specifically) sending their kids to the public schools. We live in West Contra Costa County. We would like to send our daughter to public school, but we don't want her to be the only child in the school with this family model. We are open to private school as well, but were hoping to save her college savings for college, and not kindergarten. We would also like to know of any positive school experiences related to being a child of same sex parents, or any challenges you have hit along the way. Looking forward to hearing your stories! 2 mom family with awesome daughter
As one Mom of a two Mom family with a soon-to-be second grade girl, we have found that we were often the ''first 2 Mom family'' or the ''first Identified 2 Mom Family'' at our daughter's infant care, Small Trans Depot; preschool, Aquatic Park School and elementary school, Joaquin Miller in Oakland.
At the infant care and preschool, many other 2 Mom families joined, and by the time we left there were at least 8 at each facility. We NEVER felt slighted or out of place at either school. Some of the 2 Mom families felt more comfortable that they had another family like theirs attend first. We spent a LOT of time at the first two places answering questions about how our daughter came to be. Most people were rather appalled that although I gave birth, her other Mom had to go through a legal adoption - which our home, finances, relationship and so on were scrutinized. Most said that if traditional families had to go through the same rigor, there would be fewer children on the planet.
Then we went joined Joaquin Miller ... (GREAT school!) and thought that we would have the same questions, concerns, comments. We asked the principal how many other two Mom families there were. She said she thought there was one - but wasn't sure. From the first play days at the Roberts Park until today, we have been nothing but welcome. At the back to school picnic, the Dads Club barbequed burgers and dogs, my daughter asked about the Dad's Club and how there were no Moms, I told her ''well, that's one volunteer club I can't join.'' At that, one of the Dads said, “yes you can, we welcome anyone who wants to make our school the best it can be” - within a couple of months I was in the Dads Club.
There are at least 5 other two Mom families at Joaquin Miller. The Principal, Teachers, PTA, Committees, Children and other overall environment has been nothing but inclusive and generous. If you are lucky enough to get to become a Joaquin Miller family, know that you will have many families who welcome you and a few that are like you.
Good luck to you! My advice is to answer the questions, join the groups and show your daughter that you are more like the school community than you are different. Another 2 Mom Family of a Terrific Daughter
My impression from friends with school-age kids in the East Bay is you'll do fine (and not be alone) at pretty much any public or private school around here. Good luck!
We are lesbian parents of 2 kids (one a preschooler) and are starting to look into schools. Are there schools that glbt parents tend to send their kids? Are there any that don't cost more than my college education? Our daughter attends a preschool where everyone is very gay positive but she is really starting to get bummed that her family is different than the other kids and we would like her to ''not be the only one''.
We are a lesbian couple living in El Cerrito and have found our neighborhood public school to be welcoming to ALL families. The teachers are excellent and my child's closest friends all live in the neighborhood, most are within walking distance.
I would assume that most public or private schools in the East Bay would welcome a family like yours and you are more than likely to find at least one or two gay/lesbian families at any given school.
I have been very fortunate because my kid's friends have nice parents who are very cool. I have also gotten to know a great many wonderful parents who are active/involved in the school. As far as I know, almost all of them are straight.
Also, please keep in mind that all schools have good/bad stuff about them and a lot of ''experts'' will try to tell you that you should look for a school that will be the perfect match for your child's temperament/learning style/interests. Often these schools come with a hefty price tag or they tend to be the public school with the highest test scores and the longest waiting list. It puts a lot of pressure on parents who agonize over making the right choice. The truth is that with supportive loving parents, most children thrive in almost any school.
BTW, we also attend the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley. It is a welcoming congregation so our children are getting a fair amount of exposure to gay families while they attend Sunday school.
Best of luck with your search!
We are in the process of applying to kindergartens for our son. Every school we look at claims to have diversity in family structures but its not always evident. Does anyone have feedback on the environment for gay families at Aurora, Black Pine Circle, Berkeley Montessori, Bentley or Redwood Day? mom of pre-schooler
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