The Magic City Acceptance Academy is a public charter school created in Alabama in the 2021-2022 school year specifically for LGBTQ students. The school’s website features a video on the homepage of the principal stating that the school’s attendance in the first year was 230 students. The video showed classrooms with rainbow and Black Lives Matter flags. Even the stairs in the school appeared to be painted in rainbow colors. The school accepts students from the sixth grade through the twelfth grade.
On June 15, 2022, the school published a document showing its sources of revenue. A total $1,525,010 came from state sources. A total $230,661 came from federal sources. Meanwhile, only $1,807.18 came from “other fund sources.” The school’s website explains that it is a “tuition-free public charter school serving grades 6th-12th.” In a letter, Principal Michael Wilson explained that similar schools should have already existed in the public education system: “Please join me in celebrating this great moment as we become a learning community that should be and should have existed in public education before and will be an example going forward.” The school also received $108,693 from American Rescue Plan ESSER funds for COVID-19 relief.
The school’s mission statement explains that it “facilitates a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.” The vision statement then explains that the school “will provide a brave learning environment and LGBTQ affirming culture for all.”
The school’s parent and student handbook explains that students will learn “equity and justice” and additionally explains that students will “have a desire to serve their communities fueled by empathy, respect, and humility.” The handbook also states that the school’s curriculum will allow “culturally-responsive adaptations.” The term “culturally responsive” is often used to describe a method of teaching that includes the race and ethnicity of students as part of the lessons taught in classrooms. Students also cannot wear clothing that depicts perceived “hate speech.”
The school allows teachers to refer to themselves as the perceived gender neutral “Mx.” rather than “Ms.” or “Mr.” The school also refers to teachers as “Mx.” in its newsletter.
The school also has an online store where people can purchase clothing. Examples of clothing on the school’s store include hats and shirts that state “say gay” and “let me be perfectly queer.” One shirt has the state of Alabama outlined in transgender colors with the phrase “you are safe with me.”
The school has a “profile of a graduate” page online that states “we are a community of lifelong learners that is grounded in justice and acceptance for all through collaboration that leads to social emotional and academic growth.” The page then explains what “each MCAA student will be”:
- Collaborative & Community-oriented – Students will be resilient and able to work collaboratively across lines of differences. They will exhibit leadership and value collaboration. They will create meaningful relationships and build community.
- Accepting & Aware – Students will build their self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. They will value diversity, and will be aware of societal needs. They will have multi-cultural awareness and an understanding of current and historical issues facing different communities of people.
- Personal Growth & Passion – Students will be intellectually curious, lifelong learners. They will have a solid understanding of the different pathways to their college and career interests and will have a passion to pursue those interests. They will have strong critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. They will zealously further their education and pursue their dreams.
- Equity & Justice – Students will be caring to others while considering, valuing, and celebrating multiple perspectives. They will have a desire to serve their communities fueled by empathy, respect, and humility. They will be compassionate, showing concern for others and a willingness to help and advocate for others and themselves.
The school explains that the Magic City Wellness Center “is a partner agency with the Magic City Acceptance Academy and provides a wide range of primary care services for ALL.” The school further explains that “the mission of the Magic City Wellness Center is to provide wellness and medical care for the LGBTQ community in a safe, welcoming and affirming environment.” People are then encouraged to visit the Magic City Wellness Center’s website “to become a patient.” The school additionally states: “The Magic City Acceptance Academy was housed in the Magic City Wellness Center prior to moving into the new school building so we know they provide outstanding, compassionate and affirming care to all of their patients!”
On the Magic City Wellness Center’s homepage, the organization explains that it offers “hormone replacement therapy.” In a “transgender new patient questionnaire,” the organization asks people to “describe your gender journey” and if they “have plans for gender affirming surgery.”
The school also lists the Magic City Acceptance Center as a “partner” to “provide wrap around services to our students.” The organization states on its website that “all currently scheduled HRT and transition-related care appointments for those under age of 19 will continue as planned, and new appointments are being accepted.” The organization also states that “we’re not going anywhere, and stand in solidarity with trans youth in Alabama.” Programs that the organization holds for “youth” include “Social Justice Workshops,” “Black Queer Trans Excellence meetup for Black LGBTQ Youth,” and “Safer Sex and Healthy Relationship Workshops.”
In 2022, the “It Gets Better Project” allowed schools to “apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding to support school-based projects empowering LGBTQ+ students.” The project was called “50 States. 50 Grants. 5000 Voices.” The organization specifically pointed out that “grant funding” even went to schools in “traditionally conservative areas.” The organization stated:
We are so excited to finally be able to announce all of the grant recipients, with each school receiving the full $10,000 in funding. Fifty grants are being awarded in 40 states plus Washington D.C., including many traditionally conservative areas. Submissions were received from a wide range of small rural towns, average-sized suburbs, and large urban cities.
The organization claimed that these grants were made available to schools thanks to the “generous support of American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) through American Eagle and Aerie customer donations from all 50 states via their Real Rewards loyalty program, as well as in-store pin-pad promotion during Pride Month 2021.” Magic City Acceptance Academy was a school that received $10,000 in funding. In reference to Magic City Acceptance Academy, the “It Gets Better Project” stated:
This project will provide outreach for their GSA and Open Arts program, through studio time to express through artistic mediums, distribute pronoun pins, and create a set of Unity Murals based on inclusion and love with a focus on LGBTQ+ History, predominantly queer black history.
The “It Gets Better Project” is an organization that promotes LGBTQ issues to children. The organization states that its mission is “to uplift, empower, and connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth around the globe.” This includes through “storytelling and media.” The organization explains: “We work in all forms of media to bring messages of hope to LGBTQ+ youth, spark conversations about the challenges they confront, and inform and positively influence their sexual orientation and gender identity journey.”