Oftentimes, Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA's) will organize events throughout the day, signing students up to participate, advertising through posters and through school announcements, and even holding a rally at the end of the day to Break the Silence. It is always advised that students follow the following guidelines:
- Do talk about participation with school administrators. Even if there is some fear that there won't be school support, it is important for students to discuss this with their Principals, Assistant Principals, and Directors of Student Activities. One of the overarching aims of the Day of Silence is to draw awareness to the extensive bullying and harassment of all students--this can be an opportunity for students to actively educate school administration on the issues. As I've talked about before, LGBT students or students who are perceived to be LGBT are at a much higher risk of being bullied and harassed. Students can find statistics here about LGBT bullying and harassment. By working together with school administration, students can plan a successful day that will garner support and work within school or district policy for student-led events.
- Know their rights with regards to participation. The general rule of thumb for the Day of Silence is that students can remain silent between classes and at lunch. However, if a teacher asks a direct question of a student during class as part of the instructional process, then they do need to respond and participate. However, students are encouraged to discuss their planned participation ahead of time with their teachers. This can have many positive effects, ranging from the teacher being respectful of that student remaining silent throughout his/her class, the teacher designing an instructional activity for the whole class that involves silence, or the teacher becoming more aware of the issues behind the Day of Silence.
- Use this as an opportunity for education. As previously discussed, students who are participating should attempt to discuss the issue of bullying and harassment with administrators and teachers. Further, students should help to educate their peers and community at large, as well. This can be done with their friends, one-on-one, or students can organize with a larger group, like their GSA, and perhaps have information during lunches, put together videos (like the one above) to be aired on the school news, or, as previously mentioned, organize a rally for the end of the day to Break the Silence.
Note--much of the information presented in this blog post was found at www.dayofsilence.org.