As a parent, you want to ensure your child is safe at school. This is also the goal of GLSEN, Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network, the leading national educational organization focusing on safety for all students. There is a need to raise awareness and fight homophobia in schools because:
· In a Harris Interactive Study on Bullying, studies said two out of three reasons students are harassed are actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.
· According to 2005 report “From Teasing to Torment, School Climate in America,” additionally nearly nine out of ten LGBT students experience harassment.
So, What Is This Day Of Silence About?
GLSEN’s Day of Silence illustrates the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on the LGBTQ students and their allies. It’s an annual event to raise awareness and protest the silence faced by LGBT people daily. People of all sexual orientations and gender identities who support LGBT rights on April 21st(this year) will take a vow of silence to recognize and protest the silence. Each year, nearly 8,000 middle and high school students register with GLSEN to partake of Day of Silence. This year, the first 3,000 registered online will receive free swag. all free downloadable posters, organizing resources, and 25% discount off all Day of Silence items like mugs and Tee shirts.
How Can I Get My School To Rally?
First, ask the principal for a meeting and find out if the staff and faculty are interested in joining this project. If your principal is opposed, you have a right to get Lambda Legal involved.
Have your GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) Club or other all-inclusive groups map out the details for the event. Divide your tasks into Before, During and After as gsanetwork.org/resources/gsa-action/events/day-silencesuggests.
· Have your GSA prepare a “To Do” List: Who is in charge of each item?
· Put up flyers and posters. Send out e-mail announcement, advertise in school newspaper.
· How will the school handle a Day of Silence? Find out if you are to be silent all day or just when you’re not in class. Should you be silent in the cafeteria and during breaks? Are you to be silent on social media?
· How will you handle people who are opposed to silence? You have a right to do this.
· You may want to pass out cards that participants state why they are not speaking.
· Have a staffed table with resources.
· Leaders should be visible with same clothing, for example, to group you.
· Post an announcement explaining the event to be respectful.
· Do you a designated space for your break on silence?
· Ask your teachers if they want to do a silent lesson plan. They can obtain a video “As If It Matters” by calling 415-552-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
· Write up an evaluation of the event. Remember that next April there will be another Day of Silence.
· Hold a Breaking the Silence Or Speak Out Activity. For example, have LGBT population tell their stories of harassment and discrimination after reflecting on the day.
· Continue the support by educating the community.
For more tips, see glsen.org
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.