First LGBTQ-focused charter school could open in Birmingham

Updated: Jan. 7, 2020 at 10:39 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Two more charter schools are hoping to open in Birmingham, but they’ll need approval from the Birmingham school board. The community got a chance to learn about the schools at a hearing Tuesday at the Lincoln Professional Development Center.

If approved, one of the schools could be the state’s first LGBTQ focused charter school.

The Magic City Acceptance Academy is one of the schools hoping to open next year. If approved, it could be the state’s first LGBTQ-focused charter school. It will be a 6th through 12th grade school primarily serving LGBTQ youth but open to everyone.

School leaders say LGBTQ youth often times face harsh environments in schools and are three times more likely to drop out of school.

"We want to meet kids where they are when they come to us and we want to lead them through the process of learning and what that looks like and what it’s about especially when you don’t have to worry about bullying and harassment and nonsupport from some of the adults that surround you,” Dr. Michel Wilson, principal of Magic City Acceptance Academy said.

The school will be located at the corner of 4th Ave. S. and 32nd St. right across the street from the old Baptist hospital operations building. It will serve about 250 students. About 50 people listening to the school’s proposal which received mix reviews.

"Birmingham City Schools - do they need work? Yes they do. But the solution is not always to push aside to allow other schools to come in. We need to work on what we do have,” said a community member who doesn’t think charter schools are the answer.

"Kids from across the state can come to the school. It can be a beacon of light and I think that this world we’re living in now, we need some light,” another resident who supports Magic City Acceptance said.

The other proposed charter school is Knowledge Unlimited which will be in Ensley. It’s a K-5 school.

The Birmingham School Board could vote on these applications by the end of the month.

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