In thousands of middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country, students will take a vow of silence Friday.
Among them are about 80 Boardman High School students who will participate in the National Day of Silence, an annual event aimed at raising awareness about issues affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.
“It’s to represent the silence that LGBT-plus people face,” explained Lily Shannon, a BHS senior who is co-president of the school’s Gay Straight Alliance club.
The national initiative is led by GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), which describes the Day of Silence as an effort to bring “awareness to the silencing effects of anti-LGBTQ name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools,” according to the organization’s website.
It’s an issue Chiara Jacobson, a BHS senior and GSA secretary, understands personally.
“As a lesbian myself, I often feel like I can’t speak up when people say awful things,” she said.
For example, she sometimes feels unable to stand up for herself if she hears classmates talking about her behind her back.
GSA members and their adviser described the BHS student body as generally tolerant, with the exceptions you are likely to find many places – especially in a high-school environment where individuals can get caught up in the crowd.
Read more about the effort in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.