by Julia Rivera
The WHS community took part in the Day of Silence last Friday. According to dayofsilence.org, “students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools."
According to former GSA Adviser Mr. Peter Horn, WHS students first started participating in 2002. Horn said, “In the 11 years [of the Day of Silence at WHS] there have only been 2 acts of violence, but nothing major.”
This year, participants made shirts in preparation for the event and also carried passes to inform teachers and peers of their participation.
A student who wishes to remain anonymous said, "At times it was hard to keep silent because people were trying to make me laugh or trying to annoy me, but I held my own and didn’t talk."
At the debriefing hosted by the GSA held after school, participants discussed their thoughts on the day. Some mentioned that they thought it was more successful than in previous years.
Horn said: “There’s been steady participation. I think this year there were 20-25 faculty members who participated [in the Day of Silence].”
The group also discussed why participating in the Day of Silence is important. Senior Samantha Ellner said: "When an activist group doesn't talk, it makes people listen and ask. Silence is apparent; it attracts people’s attention without screaming."
The first Day of Silence took place at the University of Virginia in 1996, and the event has grown to include over 8,000 U.S. middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities.
According to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey, nearly 9 out of 10 students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and more than 30 percent report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety.
Junior Alex Jeffery said: "I did the Day of Silence because I think that it’s an important cause. Bringing it to everyone's attention is something that casts light on an issue that deserves serious consideration from people of all generations and backgrounds."