The Day of Silence

Ramya Rao, Staff Writer

You may have noticed students that usually speak up during class remaining silent. They had to have a friend say “here” for them during the attendance roll call, had to write down what they wanted to say instead of speaking it. On April 19, by refusing to voice their thoughts, these Ward Melville students were observing the Day of Silence.

Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence intends to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying in schools. On April 19th, many students at Ward Melville chose to participate in the Day of Silence and passed the entire day without speaking. “I feel that the intentional silence is symbolic of the silence brought upon individuals by oppressive homophobic societal and cultural views,” says Sam Cavanaugh, a sophomore who did not speak for the school day.

While it was within students’ rights to remain silent between periods and after school, if they were directly questioned by a teacher, they were required to respond; nonetheless, the students who participated were confident that the day served its purpose. 

Ward Melville has an active Gay-Straight Alliance that seeks to create a safe environment within the school where students can learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions. The Day of Silence was discussed during their meetings.

LGBT bullying has increasingly gained attention, and events like the Day of Silence attracted followers, as the struggle for marriage equality in all states carries on in the headlines. Another day to take a stand against LGBT bullying is planned for October 17 of this year, on “Spirit Day”.