Day of Silence is a nationwide protest led by students that happens every April. LGBTQ+ Students and allies start the day by taking a vow of silence and then break that silence at the end of the day. The protest was started in 1996 by a group of students at University of Virginia in protest against the constant harassment and bullying of LGBTQ+ students.
According to GLSEN (Gay Lesbein Straight Education Network) nine in ten LGBTQ+ students have experinced assault or bullying and almost a third have missed a day or more of school because they do not feel safe or comfortable at school. Due to this it is important that we show our support for LGBTQ+ students by participating in the day of silence because everyone deserves a safe and comfortable learning place.
When Shae Cogswell, a member of San Marcos’s GSA club, was asked what Day of Silence meant to her she said, “Day of silence, for me, is a day where queer students acknowledge how their opinions and views have been often overlooked and how they have been discriminated against in the school system. Then at the end of the day they break the silence, which is symbolic of how they can express their views and opinions in school without being silenced.”
While a school does not have to support the Day of Silence activities, it is every students’ first amendment right to peacefully protest. The First Amendment allows schools to restrict speech that is lewd, vulgar, indecent, clearly offensive, or that substantially interferes with the work of the school or the rights of other students. However it is important to note this does not necessarily mean that there will be no academic or disciplinary consequences for participating in the Day of Silence. It may be wise to send an email to your teachers in advance, to inform them about the activities of the day of silence. Day of Silence is not just an opportunity to skip out of school work.
This year the day of silence will be held on April 22, to learn more you can attend GSA club meetings that are held every Monday at lunch. Everyone deserves a just learning environment, Day of Silence is a step towards a safe and comfortable campus for all of us, so make sure to participate.