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  • J

    Jenna HelfantDec 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Hello Anonymous,

    As Co-President of the Gay Straight Alliance I would just like to share with you what the purpose of the Day of Silence really was. If you don’t know already, the Day of Silence is a national event created by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The purpose of the day was to call attention to the silencing effect of gay bullying in schools. By being silent for a day, our goal was to make a statement louder than we could with words.

    In no way was the Day of Silence supposed to simulate the silence felt by LGBT students. That was not our mission. Around school there were fliers describing the Day of Silence and GLSEN’s intended result, I am sorry if you felt that that message was not clearly communicated.

    Going in to this day the GSA was fully aware that we could not possibly get everyone in the school to be silent, because we know that while it is ideal to have such an understanding environment, everyone has their own beliefs and all we can do is educate. However, I feel that the Day of Silence was incredibly powerful. Even if a student was only able to remain silent until lunch, they were assisting in getting the message across. If they used sign language, or other forms of communication, it does not subtract from the fact that they still wanted to take part in this movement. Even if they weren’t perfectly silent, everyone around them knew the stand they were taking, and if even one more student became educated, or informed because of the Day of Silence, that is enough for us.

    I am sorry that you feel that the Day of Silence was a mockery. I have to entirely disagree with you and I am incredibly proud of everyone who participated, because each person that at least attempted to be silent was making the conscious effort to end anti-LGBT bullying. If you have any suggestions for the future of the GSA, I strongly encourage you to come speak with me or any of my Co-Presidents as we are more than happy to discuss any changes you might have. It is very upsetting to me that you felt you couldn’t participate in the Day of Silence because you realized no one would ever understand you. The whole purpose of the GSA is to create an educated understanding, and if being understood is what you want, I urge you to join the GSA and help us help you.

  • R

    Rachel C.Dec 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Dear anonymous,
    If you have any ideas on how to improve the Day of Silence, the GSA would love to hear it. I’m not being sarcastic or mean, Ms. Monte and the co-presidents of the GSA strive to improve this event and to improve the GSA every single year and if you, or anyone else, feels that something that we have done was wrong or ill-perceived, it is our goal to change it. Thank you for your comment because it really does help us shed some light on what we might have done wrong and what we need to understand more.

  • A

    AnonymousDec 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Although the idea behind this event is great and comes from a sincere desire to raise awareness for a valuable issue, the way it was executed and even many aspects of the event itself do the exact opposite than what it is meant to do.

    The students that participated in this event as Ofri Aharon said, did work together to send a message. But this message had nothing to do with GLBT teens either at Milken or in the greater community. By putting on a sticker and doing a gimmick of “acting out how it feels to be silent for a day” is more of a detriment to the cause than a help. The silence with which these teens live their lives is nothing compared to the “novel” experience the participants received. The simple fact of having a “silent zone” invalidates the whole idea that you have to go about your whole day with a mask on, and go about these days for years.

    I hate to break it to you, but communicating using sign language has the same effect as communicating with words. Furthermore, by trying to beat the system by using alternative methods of communication, this fundamentally goes against the whole experience of the GLBT teen. By creating a community or participating in an activity like this with your friends, the whole experience of hiding from the world at every waking moment is not only lessened, but also it implies that by doing this, a participant is playing the part of somebody they are not, similar to dressing up on halloween.

    For those who do live the lifestyle that was supposed to be exposed on this “day of silence”, I share your heartfelt distain and dismemberment from this event. As I walked into school and saw these stickers being put on by smiling and laughing people, I realized that I would always be different from them. With their sanctimonious actions and their pleas for understanding of the GSA, I realized that they would never understand me. I don’t get to throw off my obligation after the school day is over. I don’t get to put on a sticker and go around notifying people that I cannot speak and I cannot show who I am. As I walked past the booth, I did not take a sticker. I live the days of silence every day of my life.