I entirely support GLSEN’s Day of Silence initiative. 2015’s event is on Friday April 17th. Students participating are being silent in solidarity against bullying and harassment in our schools of LGBT students.
When students are bullied and harassed in our schools it inhibits the educational potential of countless students. Students are afraid to admit the reason why they are being bullied and that helps create the unneeded silence to help provide an affirming educational space.
I can remember the time during my senior year when I left my fifth period class early because my bully did not like the fact that I was perceived to be queer. Other students and the teacher were bewildered why I was so eager to bolt out of the door. My bully also had class in the same building as my sixth period class and I was bolting out so I could go to my next class without much harassment.
Traditional values advocates may not be happy about events such as Day of Silence, but if students were able to learn in peace without harassment then the school environment would not needed to be politicized. Bullied students are not able to learn their reading, writing and mathematics when they are being fearful about going from class to class, going to school or going home after class.
The fundamentalists are afraid about the annual Day of Silence event, an event focused on awareness of the harassment and bullying of LGBT youth. Students should be free to be who they are without the fear of harassment or intimidation. The psychological terrorism of bullies only prevents students from getting the education that they are entitled to. Students may be raised with values and traditions from their families, however they should learn to let students live and let live and learn that society is not a filtered lens that they may have been conditioned with.
Students are what they are, people do not take lessons on being straight or gay. The objective of organizations such as the Campaign for California Families and the Alliance Defense Fund is to spread ignorance, prejudice and fear so they can have a boogeyman in the gay community to raise money for their organizations.
Schools should not be used as a political proving ground for fundamentalists or even homosexuals. However student initiated actions such as the Day of Silence is vital and needed to bring forth awareness of the issue of harassment and bullying of students. We need a warm and open environment for all students no matter what their sexuality or religion might be.
I had to deal with a bully where I had to be evasive by going to school very early by choosing an esoteric path to school and when I had a class where my bully was in the same building I stormed out of class so we would not have to cross paths. Worrying about this individual added extra stress to my senior year about ten years ago from today. I was closeted back then and did not radiate anything. However my bully probably had very good gaydar.
Straight, gay or in-between we should all share solidarity together so we can make sure that future generations of students especially in Junior High and High School can learn and be free from intimidation. Even though I have graduated long time ago, I want to help change the culture so we can have hope not fear.