AHS to observe the Day of Silence


Christine Tamir

Senior Gay-Straight Alliance secretary Beatrice Ohene-Okae will participate in the event.

It’s a Friday: students are not talking in class, teachers aren’t giving verbal directions and the hallways echo with silence. This is what is expected to occur on April 19, the annual National Day of Silence. This event is held to protest the harassment and bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and those who support the cause. The Gay-Straight Alliance hosts this nationwide event at AHS, where students and teachers are welcome to participate in the day-long vow of silence.

“We are making the point that there are so many LGBT students who feel like they can’t open up or express themselves freely, and this event is to help show them that there is community support,” Gay-Straight Alliance sponsor and ESOL teacher Bethany Slingerland said. “It is a great opportunity for other students to understand what many LGBT students suffer through.”

Registration for the event will begin on April 11 and end on April 18 during all lunches or students can stop by Trailer 6. On the 19th, participants will receive a sticker to wear and a card saying that they are observing a day filled with silence and are excused from speaking during the school day. The Gay-Straight Alliance also hopes to have carnations for participants to wear on their shirts, just as they had done last year.

This will be the 11th year AHS has participated in the event and the number of participants has been increasing over the past few year. Two years ago there were about 50 people who participated, however, more than 200 students and faculty members registered last year. The same turnout is expected for this year as well.

“This is my fourth year participating in the event and I do it because I believe that everyone should be equal,” senior Angela Armstrong said.

Although the purpose behind the Day of Silence is to not speak throughout the entire school day, it has been made clear that students do not have the right to disobey their teachers when instructed to speak in class. This does not appear to be an apparent problem at AHS, since many teachers are supportive of the cause and some participate themselves.

“The point is not to let students have an easy day of school and get out of assignments,” Slingerland said. “They are still expected to complete all of their work and stay attentive though they can not verbally participate.”

Despite the fact that going a day without speaking may not be as difficult as it seems, multiple students have stressed that it’s a good reminder of what some LGBT students experience on a daily basis.

“For me, it’s not hard to go a day without speaking, because I have the motivation behind participating in support of those who struggle with the ability to express themselves,” junior Nikita Coelho said. “This is my third year doing this and I just feel like it’s the right thing to do. I don’t make judgements about people just from whom they make like and that was the way I was raised.”