2017 GLSEN Day of Silence


WHEREAS, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) strives to have students be valued and treated with respect, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and

WHEREAS, in 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests, with over 150 students participating; and

WHEREAS, in 1997, organizers took their effort national, and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event; and

WHEREAS, students from middle school to college take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT; and

WHEREAS, the GLSEN 2013 National School Climate Survey found that nearly nine out of ten LGBT students report verbal, sexual, or physical harassment at school and more than 30% report missing at least one day of school in the past month because of fear for their personal safety; and

WHEREAS, two of the top three reasons students said their peers were bullied at school were actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender expression, according to “From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America,” a 2005 report by GLSEN and Harris Interactive; and

WHEREAS, the Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in schools;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize April 21, 2017, as GLSEN DAY OF SILENCE in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.