Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Education Muted by Day of Silence


Photo by frozenchipmunk

Education Muted by Day of Silence

from Beetle Blogger

What is the "Day of Silence?" If you haven't had a child in Junior High or High School, you might not have heard.

In the past, thousands of schools nationwide have participated in this unofficial event, characterized by the students, and sometimes teachers, refusing to speak during the instruction hours. The official Day of Silence purpose is to combat bullying, by providing a silent picture of oppression that society imposes on homosexuals. Students are encouraged to participate by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), an activist group that promotes homosexuality in schools.

This year's "Day of Silence" is tomorrow, April 17th.

Mission America is one of several organizations that are taking a stand against the "Day of Silence" and assisting in educating parents about their options on this day:
“Last year, our organization fielded hundreds of calls from concerned parents and school officials, who wanted to know more about the Day of Silence and who did not want to be associated with it in any way,” said Linda Harvey, founder of Mission:America.
Everyone should oppose bullying, but this event sends the message that to be anti-harassment, students must approve of homosexual behavior. One way tolerance. What kind of message does that send our kids?

Beyond sexuality issues, staying silent makes it hard to take part in school. Teachers are paid to instruct students, this usually includes quite a bit of speaking. Students need to ask questions as part of learning. What kind of learning can possibly take place on a day without instruction and without questions?

Schools do not officially sponsor or endorse GLSEN’s Day of Silence, but many permit participation, or make arrangements so that a speechless day at school is accommodated. Social activism has no place in a learning environment.

Find out whether your school is supporting the "Day of Silence" tomorrow.
Day of Silence official website

What can you do?

A friend of ours wrote to her local high school ahead of time to give them the opportunity to talk it over and decide what they were going to do about the upcoming Day of Silence:

Dear Administrators,

Is the Pleasant Grove High School allowing the Day of Silence on campus this coming Friday? Teachers are paid to talk and students clarify understanding by asking questions. Staying silent makes it hard to fully engage in the academic process. I expect each day at school to be focused on learning and education, not social activism.

I understand that the stated goal of the Day of Silence is to combat bullying by providing a silent picture of oppression that society imposes on homosexuals. Would it not be more effective to deal with actual bullying using tools already in place in the education code? The Day of Silence sends the message that to be anti-bullying, a student must also approve of homosexual behavior, and I do not wish to place my student in the position of implying approval by his attendance at this “event”.

If Friday is going to be a non-learning day I will keep my student home.


Mrs. D.M.

Writing a letter or speaking to school officials beforehand gives schools the opportunity to opt out of the Day of Silence before being hit with loss of funds from students being kept home. Because schools receive funding per child per day, this form of protest is extremely effective.

Parents need to be aware of what is happening in our children's schools. We must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. You can work to de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence.


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