This past Friday, students and faculty members at Madison High School protested the bullying and mistreatment of LGBT members of the community through their participation in The Day Of Silence. Every year on this day, schools across the nation took a vow of silence order to shed light on the growing–and often overlooked–number of LGBT teens who are victims of bullying, and whose fears or circumstances leave them unable to speak out against their aggressors.
Upon their arrival at school, participants pressed a sticker across their chests reading: I support the Day of Silence. The text was printed alongside a grainy, black and white photograph of a face, scrunched in frustration, and screaming.
The Gay-Straight Alliance, the student-run club at MHS which sponsors the Day of Silence, reported that a record of 89 people signed up to participate this year. These 89 people kept their lips pressed tightly together for the duration of the school day, refusing to speak to their peers and teachers. Fortunately, teachers and students who did not participate in the event still demonstrated support for the cause, with limited pestering toward those unable to respond to their greetings and questions.
Although a mere 10 percent of the student body participated in The Day of Silence, the president of the GSA, Grace Johnson-Debaufre, asserted that the involvement of a few promoted awareness, which was the GSA's primary goal in organizing the event.
"Even if people do not support the cause or participate in it, they still ask questions and think about what it is we are protesting," Grace said, "I think it has a lot of impact in the school."
It seems ironic that a noiseless demonstration of opposition is capable of attracting the attention of a school community more effectively than confrontational tactics. However, the magnitude of the issue of LGBT students enduring discrimination and harassment was certainly conveyed accurately by the MHS community as they united in order to help end the silence.