by Amy Atkins
Today is a Day of Silence for students across the country. They aren't keeping their mouths closed because they don't know the answer to a teacher's question, but as a show of support for LGBT teens who are often the target of name-calling, bullying and harassment.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has organized this annual event for 15 years in hopes that students—those who identify as LGBT, their friends and maybe even the bullies—will gain a better understanding of how some LGBT kids are "silenced" by epithets, slurs or even physical violence. According to its Facebook event page, which has nearly 50,000 "attendees," Day of Silence is the "largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
FoxNews.com reported today that critics of GLSEN's Day of Silence say it is a "waste of taxpayer money" as well as propagandist: "Family advocacy groups warn that GLSEN is using the day to try to indoctrinate kids and force a pro-gay agenda into schools—something they want kept out of class entirely."
There is currently a bill before the U.S. Congress to amend the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Safe Schools Improvement Act would "require schools and districts receiving federal funds to adopt codes of conduct specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Act would also require that states report data on bullying and harassment to the Department of Education."
So when your kid is quiet at the dinner table tonight, don't get angry with him. For once, he might not be ignoring you.