Active Silence Raises Awareness

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Hushed tones filled the hallways and classrooms at Elwood Middle School as more than 120 students rallied together in support of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s National Day of Silence. Members of the EMS Knights of Good, Y.E.S. Club and Operation Respect Club, as well as other participating students, voluntarily took part in the awareness program.

The National Day of Silence represents the silence of people in the LGBT community. For the second-consecutive year, Elwood students coordinated this event in an effort to promote anti-bullying against LGBT students in their school community. By participating in the event, students hope to provoke others to consider their thoughts and actions before passing judgment and to create a more accepting climate in the school building.

This year, students had the opportunity to meet with a representative from Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization, who led a presentation on how to plan for and incorporate Day of Silence in their school. In the weeks leading up to the day, students created and hung posters around the school to promote the program. An informational display was set up in the cafeteria for students who wanted to learn more about the LGBT community. The display included flags to represent some of the sexualities and genders on the spectrum, different gender pronouns people use and a game where different sexualities and gender identities were matched.  

In their classrooms, participating students wore a sticker to explain their silence to classmates and carried a whiteboard and marker to write their answers to their teachers’ questions, which allowed them to remain silent.