7 students at Avonworth High School didn’t speak a word last Friday. Why? April 22 was the GLSEN Day of Silence to protest harassment and discrimination of LGBT+ students.
According to the GLSEN website, the protest “started in the mid 90’s by two college students, [and] expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year.” Typically, the day ends with the “Breaking the Silence” rally, when students share their experiences and bring attention to ways their communities can be more accepting and inclusive. This year, many rallies are being held virtually or with considerable distancing by GSAs across the country.
Junior Halle Archey took part in the protest last week. They wrote, “I felt really moved by the knowledge that students don’t feel safe enough to go to school in an environment that’s just supposed to educate them everyday and keep them safe. […] I wanted to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ students that have lost their right to an education because of the intolerance in the world.”
Some teachers were less receptive than others- it was the main thing Halle said they noticed throughout the day. They sensed that, “teachers seemed irked by the idea of students not verbally participating which created some tension, [but] if 8 kids not talking interrupts your ability to teach, I want people to imagine how 8 other students can affect (sic) someone’s ability to learn just from being who they are.”