Students at a local middle school are being encouraged to participate in a “day of silence” protest in support of the LGBTQ community.
Day of Silence, scheduled for April 22, is a “national youth movement protesting the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their allies,” a poster at Stillwater Middle School says.
According to its website, the movement was started in the mid-’90s and now reaches “hundreds of thousands of students each year.”
Stillwater students who wish to participate are encouraged to get a “speaking card” from either “the office” or art teacher Megan Beadle’s room. Stillwater Middle School students range from sixth to eighth grade, which normally falls between the ages of 11 and 14.
— 🇺🇸 JP (@findyourcompete) April 6, 2022
“My deliberate silence echoes that silence which is caused by harassment, prejudice, and discrimination. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward fighting these injustices,” reads the poster advertising the Day of Silence.
“Think about the voices you are not hearing today,” it continues. “What are you doing to end the silence?”
In response to the event, Stillwater Area Public Schools Superintendent Malinda Lansfeldt said the school supports students’ freedom of speech.
“Stillwater Area Public Schools supports our students’ rights to free speech and expression so long as students remain safe and the activity is done in accordance with district policy,” reads a statement from Lansfeldt, provided to Alpha News.
“We are committed to providing safe and welcoming places for all of our students to learn,” the statement continues.
The movement’s website says that many participating schools end the day with rallies to “break the silence,” share experiences from their day of protest, and highlight ways their schools can “become more inclusive.”
GLSEN, the organization that puts on the Day of Silence, also organizes a No Name-Calling Week, which is intended to stop “bias-based bullying” and to encourage LGBTQ students to stand up for “what they want to be called.” They also organize a Solidarity Week to inspire students to stand in solidarity with their LGBTQ peers.