Harvey Milk High School
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|Harvey Milk High School|
2–10 Astor Place
|Type||Public secondary, college|
|Founder||Emery Hetrick and Damien Martin|
|Affiliations||New York City Department of Education and Hetrick-Martin Institute|
|Website||M586 at Schools.nyc.gov|
Harvey Milk High School is a public high school in the East Village of New York City designed for, though not limited to, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender young people, as well as those questioning their sexuality. It is named after San Francisco, California supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States.
The school was originally run by the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), an organization that provides social support to at-risk youth, especially non-heterosexuals. After becoming a fully accredited public school in 2002, the high school is now administered by the New York City Department of Education, separate from HMI. The school and the non-profit still share space in the same building, with Hetrick-Martin providing a majority of the school's arts and culture programming.
The school was founded in 1985 as a small, two-room program with just over a dozen students by HMI in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education's Career Education Center. The Department of Education administers the school and is responsible for admissions. Harvey Milk was created as an alternative education program for youth who find it difficult or impossible to attend their home schools due to threats, violence, or harassment.
The capital provided by the Board of Education allowed for the renovation of the school building. Enrollment jumped from 50 to 100 students. In 2003 William Salzman, the principal of the school, said it would be "academically challenging". Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, was critical, and asked: "Is there a different way to teach homosexuals? Is there gay math? This is wrong... There’s no reason these children should be treated separately."
Supporters contend that this school is a pragmatic solution, providing an alternative path to a diploma for students who are unable to succeed in a mainstream high school due to intolerance. Not all arguments against the school are divided along partisan lines. Independent mayor Michael Bloomberg supported the renovation of the school while Democratic N.Y. State Senator Rubén Díaz opposed it.
In 2004, the HMHS underwent a 17,000 square foot (1,600 m²) expansion and an increase to eight classrooms and 110 students.