By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, Curriki
You may find some of your students refusing to speak next Friday, April 21. That’s because it’s LGBT Day of Silence, a day during which students take a vow not to speak to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students and their straight allies because of bias and harassment.The national advocacy group GLSEN (The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) sponsors the Day of Silence in thousands of schools as a student-led national event to bring awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.
Students from middle school to college take a vow of silence to encourage their schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBTQ behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment.
GLSEN has found that teacher interventions have helped reduce bullying and improve the lives of LGBTQ students, but there is still much work to be done to eliminate student harassment and discrimination.
Safe School Tools
If you are looking for tools to help transform your school into a safer, more tolerant space for the LGBTQ student population, your most immediate action is to respect those who choose to be silent next Friday. Here are some other helpful resources:
- GSA Network – Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs, called GSAs, are youth-led groups that empower students to educate their schools and communities about diversity and support LGBT students. They are facilitated by the GSA Network, a racial and gender justice organization working to create safer schools and healthier communities.
- Teaching Tolerance – Teaching Tolerance offers a list of strategies for creating an LGBT-inclusive School Climate.
- TRUTH – TRUTH is a national trans and gender-nonconforming youth storytelling campaign that aims to build empathy and understanding by giving youth a forum to share their stories.
- PACER’s Bullying Prevention Center – Of course, LGBTQ students aren’t the only ones who are bullied at school. The PACER website, which champions students with disabilities, says 1 in 5 students report that they have been bullied.
Bullying behavior creates risks for both victims and perpetrators. PACER says students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression. Students who engage in bullying behavior have more academic problems, substance use, and violent behavior later in adolescence and adulthood.
PACER’s Bullying Prevention Center has resources to help you identify and tackle the problem of bullying in your school. Carmen’s Resource Page will help you talk about bullying with younger children. The Teens Against Bullying Website has effective strategies for middle and high school kids.
Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer & Chief Marketing Officer, leads and manages all of Curriki’s content development, user experience and academic direction. Learn more at Curriki.org.