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Students Participate in National Day of Silence

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The hallways of City High were a little less noisy on Friday. Members of the GLOW (Gay, Lesbian Or Whatever) club participated in the National Day of Silence, an event sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

“We’ve had lots of participation and mostly positive response.” Maureen Hill, advisor of the GLOW club said. “The staff and students have been supportive.”

This student-led action raises awareness about the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“I participate in the Day of Silence because of the importance it has in representing the everyday lives of LGBTQA+ students in schools, and those who are no longer with us today, whose voices could not be heard.” Rachel Hittner ‘15 said. Hittner has been an active participant in GLOW club and the Day of Silence since her freshman year in 2011.

If there is even just one person participating, showing that they care about the cause, that action can make a big difference.”

— Rachel Hittner '15

In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests, with over 150 students in participation.

“If there is even just one person participating, showing that they care about the cause, that action can make a big difference and help others understand how difficult it is to have to withstand threats, assault, and other forms of bullying because of your sexual or romantic orientation,” Rachel Hittner ‘15 said.

GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey found that nearly 85% of LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.

Don’t suffer in silence. Let people know and get help.”

— Maureen Hill

“Don’t suffer in silence.  Let people know and get help from peers and adults.” Maureen Hill recommends. “Often, once a bully is informed by an authority figure or peer group that what they’re doing isn’t okay, they stop.”

The Day of Silence is an opportunity for teachers and students to work toward improving school climate for all students.

“Most GLOW students feel that City is a pretty safe place.” Maureen Hill said. “Either they experience no/little harassment, or when they do, they have support and action is taken.”

As most states still do not have anti-bullying, anti-harassment and nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT youth, all involved say the Day of Silence is as relevant and important as ever.

“[Participating in the Day of Silence] can help people change the lives of those who feel helpless to stop bullying and harassment, and to understand that they are not alone.” Rachel Hittner ’15 said. “The situation you’re in [may be] hard and confusing, but you’re not alone. There’s always someone willing to help you.”

 

 

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Students Participate in National Day of Silence