April 8, 2019


Is the “Gay Day of Silence” Coming to a School Near You?


The AFA of PA does not believe any student should be bullied and all should be provided a safe learning environment, however using a taxpayer-funded school day as a mechanism for social change should not be permitted.  The Day of Silence is one of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) days of action.  This day is supposedly used to highlight the silence and bullying those who identify as LGBT are forced to endure each day.   However, it is really used to send the message to the entire student body that “gay is okay” and now “trans is okay” too.  In many cases it is used as a weapon to silence those who do not agree.   In most cases the Day of Silence is organized by the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)  or other LGBT-affirming club. 

This year’s Day of Silence is April 12th, but some schools observe it on other days.  Many times there will be activities throughout the week leading up to the Day of Silence. 

Even though this is technically a student-led activity, GLSEN provides many ideas and resources either for free or purchase.  Here’s what GLSEN’s website says, “take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.  To start, K-12 students and educators should register their participation.”  So, the students are to remain silent, throughout the day.  Although, the ACLU acknowledges, “You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak.”  In some cases, teachers remain silent too!  GLSEN even has resources for teachers to use.

So, how should parents respond to this day?  First call their school to ask if they will allow students and/or teachers to remain silent during instructional time on the “Day of Silence.”  Do NOT ask if the school is sponsoring the Day of Silence, as technically they are not.  If the answer is ‘yes,’ the most effective way is to keep your kids home that day and let the school know why.   Absences equal lost dollars for the school. 

Action Steps

Consider keeping your child home that day if your school will allow students or teachers to remain silent during instructional time. The AFA of PA is once again a member of the Day of Silence Walkout Coalition.  You can get more information, including a Sample Walkout Letter on the Day of Silence Walkout website

Laurie Higgins has also written a thought-provoking article here

Our friend Linda Harvey has created posters that can be used to counter the message of the Day of Silence. They can be found here   If you believe your child is mature enough to withstand some pushback from the administration, then ask them to consider approaching their administrator with a request to post a poster or distribute fliers made from the posters in accordance with the district’s policies regarding student literature distribution or use of school bulletin boards or similar fora. They should follow the requirements in the policy such as filling out a form and ask for approval.  If the school declines the request, let us know!! 

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