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Gay Day of Silence to Support Nationwide Anti-Bullying Agenda

Gay Day of Silence to Support Nationwide Anti-Bullying Agenda

Gay Day of Silence to support nationwide anti-bullying agenda; opponents claim protest is a waste of taxpayer money.

In response to the flurry of stories about bullying in America’s classrooms, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has organized its 15th annual Day of Silence for Friday, April 16. 

Students nationwide will remain silent during classes in an effort to call attention to the verbal and physical abuse endured by gay students. 

While more than 5,000 public schools are allowing students affiliated with their gay and lesbian advocacy groups to take part in the protests, many family organizations are calling for families to pull their children out of school.  Their main argument, “it’s a disruptive waste of taxpayer dollars and it will be used to indoctrinate kids by forcing a pro-gay agenda into schools.”

"I think that we shouldn't be exploiting public education for this," Laurie Higgins, Director of school advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute told FoxNews. "There are better ways to use taxpayer money. We send our kids there to learn the subject matter, not ... to be unwillingly exposed to political protest during instructional time."

According to a GLSEN survey conducted in 2007, the group found that 86 percent of GLBT students reported being harassed at school, and more than 60 percent felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.  Startling numbers to say the least and can offer an explanation into why schools are the target of the protest. 

The boycott is at the urging of various conservative groups to hit school officials where it counts, their budget.

In an interview with FoxNews, Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis at the American Family Institute said, "Most schools get reimbursed on the basis of average daily attendance. In other words, they don't get taxpayer dollars for teaching students anything — they get taxpayer dollars for having their fannies in the seats.  So if you have fewer fannies in the seats that's less dollars for school administrators and that's an incentive for them to do the right thing here."

In addition to the thousands of US middle and high schools taking part, there are more than 30,000 people who have joined the Facebook event page.   

And even though the event is stirring up controversy, teachers and school administrators are reporting nothing but positive feedback.  

"Participants in Day of Silence go to school, go to class and answer when called upon," said Eliza Byard, GLSEN's Executive Director.  "For a family to decide to take their child out of class, this would disrupt that child's learning and that would be a shame."

The Day of Silence was the brain child of a college student attending the University of Virginia in 1996 and has quickly spread nationwide.  GLSEN took over organizing the event in 2001 and has published materials on their website to outline how students can take part in the demonstration.   

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Leslie Dobbins