Broward County Public Schools
Diversity, Prevention & Intervention Department
April 17, 2015 “Day of Silence” Fact Sheet and FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Day of Silence®? The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students and those perceived to be LGBTQ.
Who started the Day of Silence? In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests. Over 150 students participated in this inaugural DOS. In 1997, organizers took their effort nationally and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.
Has the Day of Silence been successful? In 2008, hundreds of thousands of students from more than 8,000 K-12 schools, colleges and universities organized Day of Silence events. These numbers make the Day of Silence one of the largest student-led actions in the United States. The event has drawn significant attention to LGBTQ issues in schools over the years. For example, GLSEN spokespersons have appeared on national media outlets and there has always been extensive local media coverage from coast to coast, with numerous interviews with students.
Why do we need a Day of Silence? Two of the top three reasons students said their peers were most often bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression, according to GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s report “From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America” and GLSEN’s 2013 School Climate Survey found seventy-four percent of middle and high school students nationally were verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation and fifty-five per cent because of their gender expression.
Do students have a right to participate in the Day of Silence? Students do have a right to participate in Day of Silence at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day. You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak. We recommend that you talk to your teachers ahead of time, tell them what you plan to do, and ask them if it would be okay for you to communicate on that day in writing.
(ACLU) Resources website: http://dayofsilence.org/FAQs/#f1