Day of Silence: sometimes in order to be heard, you have to be silent


Emma North

On Friday, April 21 2017, students wore stickers and remained silent to participate in the annual Day of Silence.

The GSA hanged posters around the school to prepare for the Day of Silence.

This Friday, April 21 2017, is the annual GLSEN Day of Silence, a student-led national event in which students remain silent to bring awareness to suicide in the LGBTQ community and the silencing effect anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in school has on students. Founded in 1996, with the first ever Day of Silence held at University of Virginia, it is now the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all students.

This will be Lambert High School’s second time participating in the Day of Silence, which is organized by Lambert’s GSA. “The Day of Silence is taking a day to honor and respect those who took their lives,” said Mara Hill, president of the GSA, “we honor these people by not using our voices because they no longer can.”

According to GLSEN’s 2015 National School Climate Survey, in 2015 only 3% of the 319 LGBTQ students surveyed in Georgia attended a
school with a comprehensive harassment/anti-bullying policy that included protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, meanwhile 71% were verbally harassed due to sexual orientation, 31% physically harassed, and 13% physically assaulted. Of those students, 58% never reported it to the staff and of those that did report it only 22% said it resulted in effective staff intervention.

On the Thursday before the Day of Silence, GSA members came to school early and passed out stickers for people who wanted to participate in the Day of Silence.

This harassment had a tangible impact on students’ education. According to a nationwide survey, LGBTQ students who experienced higher levels of victimization because of their sexual orientation were more than three times as likely to have missed school in the last month than those who experienced lower levels, twice as likely to report that they did not plan to pursue post-secondary education than those who experienced lower levels, and had lower GPAs, self-esteem, sense of school belonging, and higher levels of depression than those who were less often harassed.

“It’s important to remember those people who are struggling,” said Hill.