The 14th annual National Day of Silence is right around the corner! On April 16, 2010 thousands of students nationwide will take a pledge of silence to bring attention to (and ultimately put an end to) anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.
Anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment in school environments is a serious issue:
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSEN 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.
In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they didn't believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response.
LGBT teens are known to have higher rates of depression and destructive behaviors, feelings of isolation, drop-out rates, have significantly higher rates of attempted suicide and are twice as likely to succeed when attempting suicide. It is firmly believed that bullying, name-calling and harassment in schools play an important role in creating these devastating numbers.
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence is entirely student-led and has grown since to become the largest student-run action toward creating safer schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender identity and/or expression. For more about the history of the Day of Silence, click here.
Following the Day of Silence, there will be a Breaking the Silence celebration at the GAGV from 4-7PM. For more information click here or contact the Youth Program Director Jess Cohen at (585) 244-8640 ext. 13 or JessC@gayalliance.org.
Are you planning to participate in the Day of Silence this year? Do you have stories from past years? Do you think there is still a need for the Day of Silence? Please, share your thoughts!