Day of Silence

Bianca Sarver, Photo Editor

April 15th, 2011, was the day when hundreds of students across the nation protested silently against the mistreatment and hate of the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community. It is sponsored by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network in which students are encouraged to take a vow of silence for the entire day to bring attention to the extreme effects of LGTB harassment in schools. Schools are the number one setting where those in the LGTB community receive the most bullying and hatred due to the ignorance of students.

The Day of Silence began in 1996 as a project assigned to students of the University of Virginia. Over 150 students participated and the following year the organizers made their effort national with nearly 100 colleges participating. It is now one of the largest student-led actions in the United States. Statistics by GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey found that nine out of ten LGTB students reported verbal, physical and/or sexual harassment at school and 30 percent reported missing at least a day of school within the past month for fear of their personal safety.

The goal of the Day of Silence is to bring national attention to this problem, because it happens everywhere. Simple teasing for being different in elementary school can turn into torment and torture in high school and beyond. It’s these years that make the biggest difference in a person’s life; they can be the best years of your life or the worst and sexual orientation should not be the determinate of that.

                Students at Joliet West have a right to participate in this protest and are encouraged to do so after class, during lunch, while in the hallway or before and after school. Students do not have this right in the classroom, however, and should talk to a teacher ahead of time to see if it would be okay to communicate in writing instead of speaking. The Day of Silence is not only a day for awareness but also an incredible opportunity for education on how to respectfully treat others no matter what their preferences are. You can read more on participation and events on