By Eamon Incognito 42Fifty Staff Writer
The Day of Silence is a nationwide student-run event. Students stay silent all day to protest harassment and bullying against LGBTQ students. These students are twice as likely to be bullied than heterosexual students. In 2009 a survey was conducted and it concluded that “8 out of 10 students had been verbally harassed at school, 4 out of 10 had been physically harassed at school, 6 out of 10 felt unsafe at school, and 1 out of 5 had been the victim of a physical assault at school…”
The Day of Silence was started in 1996 by University of Virginia students as a class project on protesting nonviolently. When the first protest went on, over 150 students came to support them. The next year it became national. It has been sponsored by GLSEN since 2001. On The Day of Silence, those participating may stay silent in only portions of the day such as a certain class or just the school day, while others stay silent for the whole day. During the time they chose to stay silent they may only communicate by writing things down.
GLSEN (the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) was founded in the 1990s by a group of teachers in Massachusetts. They wanted to try and make school a safer place for LGBTQ students. GLSEN says they “want every student, in every school, to be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. believe that all students deserve a safe and affirming school environment where they can learn and grow.” They work with the Department of Education and Congress to try to make a difference.
This is a peaceful protest that exercises the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This says that as long as students do not become violent, they have the right to protest.
The Day of Silence will be held on Friday, April 27 this year.
Eamon Incognito covers LGBTQ events and Oswego High School community events. He can be reached at the publication directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Admin. “Day of Silence/Night of Noise.” Living Out, 5 May 2014, livingoutli.org/local/day-of-silencenight-of-noise-2/.
Improving Education, Creating a Better World.” GLSEN, www.glsen.org/learn/about-glsen.
“Logo G S A for Safe Schools Gay Straight Alliance.” Frequently Asked Questions about Day of Silence“ | GSAFE, www.gsafewi.org/resources/for-youth-gsas/gsa-actions-events/frequently-asked-questions-about-day-of-silence/
“The Day of Silence.” Holidays Calendar, www.holidayscalendar.com/event/the-day-of-silence/.