The Gay Straight Student Alliance (GSA) sponsored a Day of Silence on April 9 to call attention to the situation of sexual minorities who are often discriminated against and feel uncomfortable speaking their feelings in public.
The primary purpose of the day of silence is to draw attention to the issue of prejudice against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and give everyone a chance to show their support or make a statement. "The main point is to mirror the silence that gay and lesbian students face," said student president of GSA, Emily Purcell.
The official Day of Silence is on April 10. However, since April 10 is a half-day, the GSA scheduled the Blair Day of Silence a day early so participants would have an opportunity to meet after school and in order to "maximize the time and the message," said sponsor and English teacher Cate Kastriner.
Participants in the Day of Silence wore a sticker illustrating their inability to talk to fellow students. Because the Day of Silence is a national event, there are not official rules about ability to talk in class but, according to Kastriner, Blair requires that students participate in schelduled class presentations. Kastriner says that "by and large" teachers respect participants' unwillingness to be a part of class discussions.
After the Day of Silence, membersof the GSA met to discuss the effectiveness of the event. Around twenty students were at the meeting. Purcell reflected that this Day of Silence was not as successful as last year, when the GSA had held an assembly a week before to raise awareness of the event.
The Day of Silence began in 1996 at the University of Virginia by Maria Pulzetti. Since then, the Day of Silence has expanded to include hundreds of groups and thousands of students nationally in both high schools and colleges.
More information about the day of silence and its history can be found at the main web page of the event, Day of Silence Project.
Annie Peirce. Annie Peirce is a senior in the Communications Arts Program and the public relations manager for Silver Chips. She is also an opinions editor for Silver Chips Online. She was born on October 25, 1984, in a hospital somewhere in Prince George's County; but doesn't … More »