Tomorrow, students from thousands of schools across the nation will be participating in the Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Students who oppose anti-gay bullying will remain silent during the school day to take a stand against bullying and harassment and illustrate the effects of silencing LGBT students.

According to Fox News, the Day of Silence is a waste of tax dollars. Instead of covering the prevalence of bullying in schools, Fox News gave a not so “fair and balanced” report of why “family advocacy groups” are taking a stand against the Day of Silence.

Apparently, the Day of Silence is so offensive that it makes for grounds to pull other students out of school for the day. I never knew that silence was so disruptive! Opponents of the Day of Silence expressed concern that it would interfere with instructional time.

I’m not sure how a few students remaining silent interferes with learning. Besides, if a parent is bothered by any disruptions to their child’s learning, the last thing they should do is pull their child out of class and prevent them from learning at all.

Bryan Fischer, from the American Family Association, explained why he thinks parents should pull their kids out of school. His explanation details an attempt to manipulate schools into disallowing their students from participating in the Day of Silence. In an interview with Fox News, Fischer said, “Most schools get reimbursed on the basis of average daily attendance. In other words, they don’t get taxpayer dollars for teaching students anything — they get taxpayer dollars for having their fannies in the seats.  So if you have fewer fannies in the seats that’s less dollars for school administrators and that’s an incentive for them to do the right thing here.”

Unfortunately, it isn’t only the American Family Association encouraging parents to pull their kids out of school tomorrow. Over thirty organizations endorsed a Day of Silence walkout.

I’m glad that schools are still supporting the Day of Silence despite these efforts from anti-gay organizations. Everyone should support teaching children that bullying and harassment are wrong. In fact, the subject deserves more than a simple day of silence. It’s not a political statement and it shouldn’t be controversial. Schools have a responsibility to prevent bullying within the school and should embrace any event where students show their opposition to bullying.

Whether or not they support LGBT equality, students should participate in the Day of Silence to spread the message that bullying and harassment are unacceptable. Hopefully, the silence of hundreds of thousands of students across the country will send a message to other students — or those who remain in class, anyway. When students are harassed, they are silenced. And when they are silenced, their lack of input is substantial and noticed. Every person that remains silent makes a difference in showing people the value of each individual’s voice.

Photo credit: samm4mrox

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