Day of Silence at Gilbert Public Schools: 4/19/2013

Friday, April 19,  marks the “Day of Silence” at Gilbert Public Schools.   GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network),  is the Day of Silence’s organizational sponsor.  GLSEN  instructs adolescents across the country to remain silent during the school day to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in the schools. 

GLSEN points out on its website: “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.’"

 GLSEN also states,  “We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.”

The site notes that principals and faculty in various part of the USA are beginning to officially participate in the Day of Silence, and to participate in committees and action groups to bring awareness to the problem of anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in the schools.

 No one should have to endure harassment based on their gender, religion, race, sexual orientation, nationality, party affiliation, physical attributes, number of tattoos/piercings, etc. 

Are Some Students More Equal than Others? 

Shouldn’t Gilbert Public Schools administration, faculty, and students strongly support equal and fair treatment of all students? 

 Is the LGBT group being singled out by GPS as deserving of Special, rather than Equal, treatment?      

 Has Gilbert Public Schools formally embraced the “Day of Silence” in its policies?  Do they accept without the usual consequences the behavior of students who refuse to participate in classroom instruction?   Do they accept that teachers will accommodate students who refuse to answer questions or speak when spoken to or refuse to give a scheduled oral presentation? 

 What about other persecuted groups of students?  Christians are being demonized, harassed, and even murdered all over the world, simply based on their religious beliefs.  What about their Day of Silence?  Jews are also being demonized, harassed, and murdered.   When will GPS accommodate them?   

Teachers’ Responsibility

 How much classroom instruction and learning will be lost because Gilbert Public Schools has decided to single out and accommodate a Special class of students?

 Hopefully, teachers will not be distracted from their responsibility to treat all students equally.  If a student willfully refuses to answer a question or give an assigned oral report or refuses to participate in classroom instruction, the teacher is obligated to grade their performance appropriately. 

Take a Stand and Be Willing to Risk the Consequences

 If students care about a cause, they should care enough to accept the consequences of their actions. 

 These students are not the first to take a stand for what they believe in.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence stated “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

 In standing up for Independence, some lost everything they owned.  Some lost their lives.  Some lost their families.  But they didn’t lose their honor.

 And what was their cause?  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….:

Day of Silence for Loss of an Education in American History 

Should we establish a “Day of Silence” to bring awareness to the reason we celebrate Independence, Freedom, and Equality for ALL people in this country?