Estimated 450,000 students to take part in Day of Silence activities; National Teach Respect campaign will ‘break the silence’
New York, NY – GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, today announced its fourth year of sponsorship for the Day of Silence, an annual national student-led effort in which participants take a vow of silence to peacefully bring attention to bullying and harassment faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and their allies in America’s schools.
This year 450,000 students from nearly 4,000 schools in all 50 states and Puerto Rico are expected to participate. With nearly 200 organizational endorsers and several proclamations of support issued in cities and towns across the country, Day of Silence 2005 is the largest event, of its kind,
to date. Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) has introduced a Congressional Resolution, which is currently seeking co-sponsors, recognizing the Day of Silence
“The Day of Silence continues to grow each year because of the extraordinary commitment, leadership and dedication of students who want to make a difference in their schools and communities,” said GLSEN Founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “Knowing that across the country, LGBT and straight students alike are taking a stand together to make anti-LGBT bullying and violence unacceptable in America’s schools give me hope and faith in the future of America.”
In addition to observances throughout the day on school campuses across the country, over 35 “Breaking the Silence” community rallies and events are planned to take place at the end of the school day. Students, parents, teachers and community members come together at the day’s end to share their experiences with guest speakers and members of their local communities. To find out if there is a “Breaking the Silence” event near you, please visit www.dayofsilence.org.
GLSEN also today officially launches the Teach Respect, a national “Breaking the Silence” event that seeks to educate, inform and inspire Americans to address the serious problems of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment that affects ALL students in our nation’s schools today.
“I am proud to announce the launch of GLSEN’s Teach Respect campaign as our way of ‘Breaking the Silence’ on this issue which plagues America’s schools,” said Kevin Jennings. “While hundreds of thousands of students lead a silent event to educate their classmates and communities about the problem of anti-LGBT bias, violence and harassment, GLSEN now breaks the silence on this issue with a campaign encouraging all Americans to take action to make schools safe for all students.”
GLSEN’s 2003 National School Climate Survey found that more than 4 out of 5 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and nearly 30% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The study also found that inclusive safe schools policies, teacher trainings on LGBT issues and supporting student clubs commonly known as Gay-Straight Alliances are part of the solution to ensure schools are safe and effective environments for all students. The Day of Silence is an important way for students and their allies to make it known that anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling are unacceptable in America’s schools.
The Teach Respect campaign will use public service announcements, or PSAs, in print media and radio to raise awareness of the harmful effects of bullying and harassment in America’s schools. A televised PSA will air on MTV stations during the Day of Silence. The Teach Respect PSAs can be viewed and heard on a re-launched educational website, www.teachrespect.com. The site will also provide information and resources about what can individuals can do within their homes, schools and communities to curb anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.
About the Day of Silence
The Day of Silence, a project of GLSEN in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA), is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment – in effect the silencing – experienced by LGBT students and their allies. Across the country last year an estimated 450,000 students in over 3,000 K-12 schools and over 600 colleges took part in the Day of Silence. This year the Day of Silence has already been endorsed by over 150 organizations and several local governments have issued proclamations about the day.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, now in its 10th year, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information on GLSEN’s educational resources, public policy agenda, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.