It's not quite as dramatic -- actually, I'd call it definitively flaccid, which is funny considering the politics involved -- but doesn't this remind you of scenes from the desegregating south? What is wrong with these people?
For the 75 students who attend the Harvey Milk High School, the first day of classes yesterday included not just the usual confusion over new classrooms and new electives, but also a walk past a crowd of chanting demonstrators. By 7:30 a.m., about a dozen demonstrators had gathered on the north side of Astor Place in Manhattan, waving signs and Bibles, and protesting what one called "the special school for gays." Across the street, about 250 people demonstrated in support of the school.
The Harvey Milk High School was established in 1985 as an alternative program for gay and lesbian teenagers, and other students suffering from violence or intolerance in New York City public schools. Before this summer, it had generated little controversy.
But a front-page article in The New York Post in July about the expansion of the school — from 50 students in two classrooms last year to eight classrooms and a projected 170 students by the end of 2004 — has suddenly made the school something of a lightning rod. The school received extensive coverage nationally on television, and in newspapers and magazines.
Ruben Israel, 42, a construction worker from Los Angeles, said he had come to New York to protest the school's expansion.
"This is a historical moment, and this school is a blemish on our society," Mr. Israel said. "It's my duty as a Christian to share Jesus' take on all this."
Thanks for your input, Mr. "Israel". I'm sure Jesus is thrilled.