Calling attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment through a Day of Silence

The National Day of Silence, sponsored by GLSEN, is a day of action in which students across the country take a vow of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying in schools. One Colorado is proud to support this important event right here in Colorado where, sadly, anti-LGBT harassment is alive and well in schools.

Just last week, we spoke with a young man who is a student at Regis Jesuit High School. His school denied him the opportunity to bring his boyfriend to prom and kept him from experiencing an important rite of passage.

A few months ago, we talked to a high school student who was bullied and harassed so often that he was afraid to go to school. Each morning, he waited until the last minute to walk to the bus stop to avoid the taunts, and many days, he missed the bus and never made it to school.

In many schools, young transgender students are uncomfortable using the restrooms, but schools cite “difficult economic conditions” as reasons for not creating one gender neutral restroom on campus.

From all across the state, we hear stories from students who try to start a Gay-Straight Alliance in their schools and are thwarted by unsupportive school staff and red tape.

Clearly, anti-LGBT bullying and harassment takes many forms — from name-calling between students to educators turning a blind eye to the needs of LGBT youth. That’s why the Day of Silence is so important. One day a year, we join together to make a powerful statement about our young people, and we call for meaningful change in the climate of Colorado schools.

Specifically, on the Day of Silence, we’re calling for Colorado schools to implement proven solutions to address this critical problem, including:

  • Adopting and implementing a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that enumerates categories such as race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender expression/identity.
  • Providing staff trainings to enable school staff to identify and address anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment effectively and in a timely manner.
  • Supporting student efforts to address anti-LGBT bullying and harassment on campus, such as the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.
  • Instituting age-appropriate, factually accurate and inclusive curricula to help students understand and respect difference within the school community and society as a whole.

We encourage all One Colorado supporters, both adults and students, to mark this occasion along with us. Take a vow of silence — if only for one hour — and join with us in our efforts to ensure that every student in Colorado is safe and respected in school.