The proposal went through easily last month, with the city's board of education unanimously approving it by default, as it was not pulled for further discussion or a vote. Tina Owen, Lead Teacher of Alliance, said they would be accepting applications from middle-school-age children for the 2009-10 school year immediately.
Marty Lexmond, the director of school innovation for Milwaukee Public Schools, told U.S. News and World Report that such an institution was needed to help adolescents, who are now increasingly publicly identifying their sexual orientation as early as middle school.
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute was dismayed that the motion went through with no discernable opposition.
"I'm stunned that the religious leaders, the Christian pastors in Milwaukee, did not rise up in righteous indignation against this school," lamented Higgins. "That is what I find perhaps equally [as] troubling, if not more so."
"I think it's unconscionable to be affirming this in public schools," said Higgins. "This is not an issue for public schools. And kids at 11- and 12- and 13- and 14-[years of age] are confused on many issues - sexuality [being] one of them."
Regina Griggs, executive director of the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), agreed.
"To affirm an 11-year-old? Please," said Griggs. "They haven't even gone through puberty, but they know that they want to have sex with other men and women? I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous."
The original Alliance high school opened four years ago, also with little opposition. Other similar plans across the country, however, have not had it as easy as the Milwaukee school.
In Chicago, plans for a "gay-friendly" high school were recently delayed due to concerns from both sides of the debate, as some feared that the plans amounted to segregating homosexuals. And when Manhattan's Harvey Milk High School opened in 2003, named for an openly homosexual politician of the 1970s, students met with protesters outside the school's doors.