New York, NY- April 28, 2006 –
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, announced record numbers in student participation for this year’s Day of Silence®. At nearly 4500 schools, students educated their peers and communities about the importance of addressing anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bullying, violence and harassment on Wednesday. The 10th national Day of Silence is among the largest student-led actions in American history.
“Student participation in this year’s Day of Silence exceeded our expectations,” said GLSEN’s Founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “The continuing growth of this event speaks to the tremendous number of young people nationwide who see anti-LGBT bullying, violence and harassment as a serious problem that demands intervention.”
In conjunction with the Day of Silence, GLSEN released its 2005 National School Climate Survey, the only national survey documenting the school-related experiences of LGBT youth. According to the report, anti-LGBT harassment, bullying and violence continue to be commonplace in America’s schools. Over a third (37.8%) of students experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation and more than a quarter (26.1%) on the basis of their gender expression.
“The results of our National School Climate Survey tell the truth about why America’s schools need the Day of Silence,” said Mr. Jennings. “LGBT youth are 5 times more likely than the general student body to skip school because they don’t feel safe. The Day of Silence poignantly brings that truth to light.”
In addition to observances throughout the day on school campuses, dozens of "Breaking the Silence" community rallies and events took place across the country. 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.
“Breaking the Silence is relevant to safer schools because it creates a safe space for students and allies to come together to voice their everyday struggles and triumphs in the education system,” said GLSEN Jump-Start leader Lance Sun, one of the organizers of New York City’s Breaking the Silence event. “Until all students feel comfortable enough stepping into their classrooms without feeling they will be ridiculed, safer schools will always be a goal, a dream that we are working towards instead of the reality that it should be.”
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 by participating in activities 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.
GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 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, research, student organizing programs or development initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.