The school is called HART BEAT: The Posh Academy for Gifted Youth and is a program of BreakOUT!‘s leadership development and healing justice work. The school comes after 3 years of BreakOUT!’s work to support members in obtaining their HiSET’s before making the leap to start our own program at the request of membership.
Several studies have shown that transgender and gender non-conforming youth of color are at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline, with many youth being pushed out of school before completing their studies. Some research also suggests that transgender and gender non-conforming youth actually face harsher sanctions by school administrators even when committing similar offenses. Further, the correlation between not finishing school and incarceration has long been known, though little has been done to reverse the school push-out rates that prevent LGBTQ youth from graduating.
The Posh Academy is both answering a need and call from our membership for their own leadership development, as well as a key strategy for “starving the beast” and reversing the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans. The pilot project will begin with an inaugral class of 7 transgender and queer youth, all of whom were pushed out of New Orleans public schools several years ago, as well as other non-traditional or alternative educational settings, due to their gender identity or expression. Nearly every BreakOUT! student has already proved to be a high achiever, many placing above average on placement tests, further highlighting a systemic problem and failure of our school system.
In addition to traditional HiSET classes, BreakOUT! strives to also incorporate our healing justice work, looking beyond obtaining their HiSET’s and also focusing on building overall development of mind and body through “alternative learning courses” where scholars take a step outside of formal education and closer to practical/popular education during tutoring hours.
The classes meet twice a week with a para-instructor, herself a graduate of NOPLAY, and once a week with tutors at BreakOUT!‘s youth space, 1001 S. Broad St. #119 // New Orleans, LA 70125.
For more information, contact Anthoni.