Must Be Spring, Day of Silence Derangement Syndrome is Breaking Out

On April 20, thousands of students will remain silent for part of the school day to call attention to anti-gay bullying and harassment. Called the Day of Silence, the event is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

In 2008, some Christian right organizations called on parents to keep their kids home on the Day of Silence. This is happening again this year.

The Day of Silence brings out some really odd statements from those opposed to it. One would think that sending your kids to school on that day is sinful. Take for instance this exchange, reported on Right Wing Watch, between Linda Harvey and Laurie Higgins:

Higgins: What the Day of Silence does is ask kids to refuse to speak during instructional time in class, that they have no legal right to do and no school has to accommodate that, and so that’s what we’re doing is asking parents to call their school, ask if students are allowed to refuse to speak in instructional time, and if they are, to keep their kids home in protest about the disruption of instructional time for a political purpose.

Harvey: You can keep your kids home that day if you suspect or you find out that teachers are going to accommodate this protest silence in order to honor homosexuality, let’s be clear about what this is, this is a God-dishonoring day that honors sin, sinful, immoral behavior that most parents don’t want their children involved in.

Higgins: Christian teachers out there and if you’re working in a public school plan activities that involve student communications so students are not allowed to do this.

Laurie Higgins says the Day of Silence people promote kids remaining silent in class. While the organizers are fine with teachers who allow this response, GLSEN is clear that students do not have the right to remain silent if the class activities call on them to speak. Here is what the Day of Silence blog says about students and class room communication.

1. You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day. If your principal or a teacher tells you otherwise, you should contact our office or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

2. You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak. If you want to stay quiet during class on Day of Silence, we recommend that you talk with your teachers ahead of time, tell them that you plan to participate in Day of Silence and why it’s important to you, and ask them if it would be okay for you to communicate in class on that day in writing. Most teachers will probably say yes.

3. Your school is NOT required to “sponsor” Day of Silence. But Day of Silence is rarely a school-sponsored activity to begin with – it’s almost always an activity led by students. So don’t be confused – just because your school isn’t officially sponsoring or participating in Day of Silence doesn’t mean that you can’t participate.

4. Students who oppose Day of Silence DO have the right to express their views, too. Like you, they must do so in a civil, peaceful way and they only have a right to do so during non-instructional time. For example, they don’t have a right to skip school on Day of Silence without any consequences, just as you don’t have a right to skip school just because you don’t like what they think or say.

The irony is that Higgins and Harvey accuse the Day of Silence participants of violating school rules by remaining silent, and then turn around and urge truancy. Higgins and Harvey are fine with skipping an entire day of school, but become unhinged when those opposed to anti-gay bullying want to remain silent during non-instructional times.

I urge parents to resist Day of Silence Derangement Syndrome and send their kids to school on the Day of Silence (and even the misguided Day of Dialogue the day before). Send them to school and encourage them to become part of the solution via opposition to bullying. Students may want to remain silent, or take part in the Golden Rule Pledge which can take place any day of the year.

 

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  • Lynn David

    There is for any extremist of any sort a special type of deranged or delusional thinking.

  • http://www.lifebeforethebucket.com Adrian W.

    It’s sad that, really, these aren’t extremists. Just your “typical” Christian parents trying to do what they claim is “right.”

  • Mary

    I don’t think of them as extremist either. They are just parents who are not reading ALL the blogs and opinions. They are doing what any parent would do if they had those views. They are just trying to not get involved in it.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    this is a God-dishonoring day that honors sin, sinful, immoral behavior that most parents don’t want their children involved in.

    So according to Ms. Harvey, promoting the notion that LGBT children should not be bullied is sin and dishonors God?

  • Mary

    Jarred,

    That’s not what she is saying. She is saying that supporting gays as a normal variation is dishonoring to God. I don’t agree with her. I doubt she really means that bullying is honoring to God.

    Putting words in her mouth.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Mary,

    She is talking about the Day of Silence. The entire purpose of the Day of Silence is to raise awareness of and call an end to anti-gay bullying.

    When Ms. Harvey says the DoS is sinful and dishonoring to God, then one of three things must be true:

    1. She is saying, as I have suggested, that calling for an end of bullying of LGBT children is what she is calling sinful.

    2. She is ignorant of what the DoS is actually about.

    3. She is intentionally lying about what the DoS is about.

    If she wishes to deny that #1 is her intent despite her rather clear words condemnation of a day dedicated to putting an end to anti-gay bullying, then she will have to cop to #2 or #3.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    And let’s not forget one of the things Ms. Harvey has said….

    “There is no proof that there’s ever anything like a gay, lesbian or bisexual or transgendered child, or teen or human.” (Source: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/harvey-theres-no-proof-lgbt-people-exist)

    Kinda hard to be against anti-gay bullying when you don’t even think there is such a thing as an LGBT child.

  • Mary

    Jarred,

    I would figure that she is ignorant about what DoS is about.

  • stephen

    Here’s something interesting . A real professor addressing real issues. Not a provincial wannabe promoting himself on the the web but a real professor dealing with the destruction of our republic.

    Link Text

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus previously strongly opposed the Day Of Silence — calling such efforts “tools to crush Christian evangelism”. But apparently sobered by many LGBT teen suicides, Alan Chambers had second thoughts. This was definitely a step in the right direction.

    “I thank Exodus for making this very important step,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard on Wednesday after hearing of Exodus’ decision. “The Day of Truth was an effort to push a very specific set of opinions about homosexuality into schools in a way that was inappropriate and divisive.”

    On the Day of Truth, middle and high school students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts and to distribute cards that say “It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality,” according to Exodus’ manual for this year’s event.

    “I don’t think it’s necessary anymore,” Chambers said of the event on Wednesday. “We want to help the church to be respectful of all its neighbors, to help those who want help and to be compassionate toward people who may hold a different worldview from us.”

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/06/christian-group-pulls-support-for-event-challenging-homosexuality/

  • ken

    Jarred# ~ Mar 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    “then one of three things must be true:”

    there is another possibility as well:

    4) She doesn’t believe the DoS organizers when they say it is simply about preventing bullying.

  • Mary

    Ken,

    That’s true.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    @Ken: Then who is putting words in whose mouth? And based on what evidence? I’ve demonstrated that Harvey has publicly called the very existence of LGBT children into question.

    The fact of the matter remains that the woman is making stuff up. Whether she’s a liar (knows she’s making it up) or delusional (actually believes her own nonsense) is mainly immaterial to the fact that she is doing great harm to LGBT children.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    @Mary: If she is ignorant, then she should remain silent. To quote Samuel Clemens, “Better to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

    Or she could actually educate herself. At what point does ignorance become a willful choice?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Seriously, I’m amazed at the number of people who expect me to give people like Harvey — who have a long history of saying horrible things — the benefit of the doubt.

  • ken

    Jarred# ~ Mar 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

    “Then who is putting words in whose mouth? And based on what evidence?”

    I don’t understand what you are asking in these questions.

    My comment was merely to point out there are other possibilities besides the 3 you mentioned.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    I’m simply pointing out that I find your possibility unbelievable. If Ms. Harvey believes the DoS organizers’ honestly, then she should provide evidence to support that. If she does not and cannot then she is making an unfounded assertion. She is either “believing” something for which goes against all evidence or she is being dishonest about which she lies. I do not see those possibilities as distinct from my original three.

  • ken

    Jarred# ~ Mar 23, 2012 at 11:33 am

    “She is either “believing” something for which goes against all evidence”

    I know of people who would say the same thing about christians.

    ” or she is being dishonest about which she lies. ”

    What you are doing is using your own prejudices about Ms. Harvey to “disbelieve” other possible explanations for her statements/actions. Which is what she does (although to a much greater extent) with regards to glbt people.

  • Dave

    Dr. Throckmorton:

    Are you aware of any data on how many kids stay home on the DoS or how many kids or schools participate in the Day of Dialogue? It is funny that the groups that promote both efforts never drop a hint about what actually happens in schools on these 2 days.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    “She is either “believing” something for which goes against all evidence”

    I know of people who would say the same thing about christians.

    Here’s the thing, though. GLSEN has a website and published materials that state what their intent is. It all talks about fighting anti-gay bullying. So Ms. Harvey isn’t just believing something without evidence, she’s believing something despite the fact that all existing evidence contradicts that belief.

    What you are doing is using your own prejudices about Ms. Harvey to “disbelieve” other possible explanations for her statements/actions.

    What prejudices? My opinion of her is based on public records of things she has actually said. She has said horrible things — like that there’s no evidence that there really are “gay kids,” a quote you’ve chosen not to address. An opinion of a person based on her actual words and deeds is not a prejudice. It’s a conclusion.

    If you really think I’m acting like her, then you’re either not paying attention or your falling for a false equivalency.

  • William

    May I suggest the following possible explanation?

    Ms Harvey DOES know precisely what the Day of Silence is about. She knows perfectly well that it is about putting an end to anti-gay bullying. She finds the prospect of the present generation of school students growing up without the same kind of despicable attitude as she holds quite intolerable to contemplate, and she rightly fears that putting an end to anti-gay bullying would make that prospect more likely of fulfilment. So, even if she doesn’t want positively to encourage anti-gay bullying, she thinks that it must perforce be condoned as a necessary evil. She realises, however, that it would not be politically expedient actually to say so. She therefore pretends to believe that the Day of Silence is about “promoting” homosexual practices among students and is using this as a phony pretext for opposing it.


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