Day of Silence 2018
On Thursday, April 26th, the Landmark High School observed the Day of Silence 2018. We are one of thousands of schools all over the country who participate. The purpose behind it is to acknowledge the silencing many people feel by not being able to express themselves as individuals. The movement is run nationally by GLSEN and is designed to help us honor the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) people who have been silenced by those who do not or have not accepted them. Showing our support is especially important now, as rates of bullying and harassment increase for students who identify as LGBTQ, and these students are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
Being silenced can mean many things. The most common instance of silencing behavior on our campus is when a student says aloud in a common place on campus, "That’s so gay," or a similar comment that is derogatory toward LGBTQ people. The effect of this kind of statement on a person who either is LGBTQ or has family and friends who are is that this person is not a safe to be around, and school in general may not be safe. Further, if this conversation happens within earshot of a faculty member who does nothing to stop it, its effects on the student are compounded and the student feels more isolated.
Landmark Fosters Acceptance
As bullying has become an issue of national concern, we feel proud that Landmark has steadily worked to create a community that strives for acceptance, not just tolerance. Many of our students know what it is like to be left out or mistreated in the classroom, and can understand what it can feel like to be ostracized in a community. We hope that events like the Day of Silence will give needed attention to the struggles of the LGBTQ community, as well as provide a moment to be aware of and grateful for Landmark's supportive environment.
The Day of Silence was a voluntary event. Students who chose to take part wore stickers that indicated whether they were "participants" or "supporters". Participants took a vow of silence for the day. As one student said, "it was mentally exhausting not to speak for a whole day." Another student said, "it was challenging not to be able to be a part of the conversation when I felt that I had something important to say." It was clear from the responses of many participants that the experience hit home for many students who have never felt pesonally silenced.
Capping off a Meaningful Day
Students gathered in the cafeteria for the last half of the day to share their observations from the day and hear a speaker, Jess Keith, who talked about his experience coming out as a gay man. He is now married and he and his husband recently adopted a little girl, Jasmine. The second speaker was sophomore Nicole Talbot, who spoke about being a transgender teen and her advocacy work with Gender Cool and Freedom for All Massachusetts.
For more information on Landmark School's Day of Silence please contact faculty member Jennifer Moy, firstname.lastname@example.org.