Ė Participation in GLSENís Day of Silence
continues to grow and set records. A post-National Day of Silence assessment found that students from 5,000 middle and high schools registered at www.dayofsilence.org
to participate in the April 18 day of action to bring attention to the serious problem of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bullying, harassment, name-calling and discrimination in schools.
Additionally, hundreds of thousands of students at secondary schools and colleges are estimated to have participated, making the day an overwhelming success.
ďWhat our nationís students accomplish every year on the Day of Silence to make a positive difference in their schools never ceases to amaze us as an organization,Ē said GLSEN Founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. "Youth who believe all students have a right to feel safe at school, free of bullying and harassment, continue to show they will not be silenced."
Several organizations, however, attempted to mis-characterize the intent and impact of the Day of Silence, which is designed to change behavior toward LGBT students and their allies, not anyone's beliefs. As usual, these organizations' attempts to undermine the Day of Silence failed.
A project of GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, in collaboration with the United States Student Association, the 11th annual National Day of Silence was one of the largest student-led days of action in the countryís history. Students participated in various ways, including taking a vow of silence, wearing stickers or T-shirts and passing out speaking cards explaining their decision not to speak.
Bullying and harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and how masculine or feminine a student is are two of the top three reasons students said their peers are harassed in school, along with physical appearance, according to a 2005 Harris Interactive study, From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America.
Additionally, nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (64%) reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation in GLSENís GLSENís 2005 National School Climate Survey.
The Day of Silence was created by University of Virginia students in 1996 and became a national event in 1997. GLSEN became the eventís national sponsor in 2001.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSENís educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs, research, public education or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.