The "Pride School" will be a K-12 institution for LGBTI students where they can learn in an environment free from homophobia and transphobia.
By
Drew Sheldrick

11 Jan 2016 - 2:11 PM  UPDATED 11 Jan 2016 - 2:11 PM

A new private school in the US state of Georgia will provide for LGBTI students who don't feel comfortable in the public education system.

The Atlanta Pride School is headed by transgender educator Christian Zsilavetz and will host students from kindergarten to grade 12.

Its mission will be to give LGBTI students, families and educators a learning environment free of homophobia and transphobia. Its website describes the school as a place where students can "be themselves, find themselves, and find friends and mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of life and education".

The school will initially operate out of a local Atlanta church and is expected to open by September this year.

"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?'" Zsilavetz told the Associated Press.

"This is a place where they [students] can just open up and be the best person they can be."

New York City has its own LGBTI school, which was established in the 1980s and fully accredited in 2002. The Harvey Milk School caters to approximately 110 students in grades 9-12.

In 2014, the US Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released its biennial National School Climate Survey report, which showed more than half of LGBT youth in the US continue to report unsafe or even dangerous school climates.

Other key findings in the survey were that 33 per cent of LGBT students were physically harassed (pushed or shoved) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 23 per cent because of their gender expression. Seventeen per cent were physically assaulted (punched, kicked, injured with a weapon) in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 11 per cent because of their gender expression.

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