Activists for years have staged “Day of Silence” events in which students and even teachers in public schools remain quiet for an entire day to lobby for approval of homosexuality. But now a coalition of family organizations is raising the stakes by encouraging parents to keep their children home on that day so there’s no audience for the protest.
The organizer of the “Day of Silence,” the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, says its work will be reflected in the “silence” of students and teachers this Friday at thousands of schools nationwide.
But a coalition of family organizations, led this year by the Illinois Family Institute, says the “Day of Silence Walkout” is the appropriate response.
The DOS, opponents say, is nothing more than “the exploitation of instructional time for socio-political action.”
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute noted the goal cited by GLSEN is to reduce bullying on school campuses, especially bullying perceived as targeting homosexual students or those with other “alternative’ sexual lifestyles.
“No one supports bullying,” she told WND. “Every school has more than ample anti-bullying policies in place. … For GLSEN, the means by which they want to end bullying is to normalize volitional homosexual conduct.”
Higgins said the homosexual organization’s aims have the effect of censoring the belief that homosexual conduct is wrong.
“They … shouldn’t be politicizing the classrooms,” she said.
WND reported on the 2008 event when several school officials threatened students with grade reductions or unexcused absences for missing the promotion.
But the protests also were kicking into drive. A year ago at Snoqualmie, Wash., Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church led a protest against the day, and an estimated 600 students, from a school of about 1,400, stayed home.
GSLEN has sponsored the nationwide silent protest every April for the last 12 years. The event is said to be a showing of support for “gay,” lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims of violence and bullying. According to GSLEN’s 2005 National School Climate Survey, four out of five LGBT children experience harassment in school. The organization claims 64 percent of “gay” students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 41 percent because of their “gender expression.”
GLSEN claims there are about 4,000 homosexual clubs now in American high schools and middle schools.
“Students should focus on academics in school. They should not be allowed to end their verbal engagement in class for a social agenda,” said Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute in Sacramento.
“We pay California teachers to teach – by speaking in classrooms – and teachers should also be expected to fully discharge their duties this coming Friday,” she said. “If a school allows teachers to stop teaching, it should not get tax dollars for educating our students on that day.”
The “Walkout” coalition said the “implicit purpose [of the promotion] is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral.”
“It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence,” the group said. “The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.”
Higgins said it is a valid effort to teach students that “diverse opinions” exist, but “it is not legitimate to imply that one of those opinions is preferable to another.
“While it is appropriate to teach students that tolerance requires that society should treat all with civility, it is not appropriate to teach that tolerance requires students to accept the view that homosexual conduct is moral,” she said.
Besides keeping kids home, parents also are being encouraged to contact their local schools about why their children will not be in class that day. They also should contact teachers on the subject, protest organizers say. And they should check which day it is being held. Some schools hold it on days other than the nationally recommended April 17 because of test schedules or other conflicts.
The coalition also said plans by parents to keep their children home will encourage some schools to disallow the campaign, if for no other reason than that some schools’ funding formulas include reductions for absentee days.
The Day of Silence Walkout” website also has a form letter suggested for parents to deliver.
It states, “Due to the administration’s decision to allow the politicization of the learning environment through the Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the highly partisan Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, we feel compelled to call our child/children out of school on that day.”
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