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About the GLSEN Day of Silence
The GLSEN Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.
Organizing for Day of Silence
Organizing a Day of Silence (DOS) activity or event can be a positive tool for change-both personally and community-wide. By taking a vow of silence, you're making a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying, and when you organize others to join you that message becomes stronger.
While you DO have a right to participate in the GLSEN Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, "Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students' right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause." However, this right to free speech doesn't extend to classroom time. "If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn't have a constitutional right to refuse to answer." We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class. Find more Lambda Legal advice here.
Legal Help: Report It!
If you think your rights are not being respected, or want to report your experience of resistant administration, click here to report it. GLSEN and Lambda Legal will review your situation.
The Youth & Gender Media Project
The Youth & Gender Media Project is providing FREE STREAMING of their four award-winning documentaries and study guides about trans and gender-expansive youth: “I’m Just Anneke” “The Family Journey” “Creating Gender Inclusive Schools” and “Becoming Johanna”. The films are being used in schools and school districts across the country to promote inclusion and prevent anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying, and harassment. Access to the films and their curriculum guides are available for the entire month of April to Day of Silence Registrants.