About the Day of Silence
The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students
across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to
the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single
student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless
of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the
first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to
the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools,
colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured
history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.
Organizing for Day of Silence
Organizing a Day of Silence (DOS) activity or event can be a positive
tool for change-both personally and community-wide. By taking a vow of
silence, you’re making a powerful statement about the important issue
of anti-LGBT bullying,and when you organize others to join you that
message becomes stronger. Discover ways of organizing your event here.
While you DO have a right to participate in the Day of Silence between
classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to
stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to
speak. 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.” We
remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead
of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class. Find
more Lamda Legal advice here.
Legal Help: Report It!
If you think your rights are not being respected, or want to report
your experience of resistant administration, click here to report it.
GLSEN and Lambda Legal will review your situation.
The Truth about the Day of Silence
As the Day of Silence continues to grow, some people have confused the
mission and goals of the Action. Clear up any misinformation by
reading The Truth about the Day of Silence.