Silence louder than words
Throughout the day today, some Kings High School students will demonstrate that saying little can mean a lot.
These students are participating in the National Day of Silence to raise awareness for “The silencing effect of anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), harassment and discrimination.”
This is the first year that a large group of students and teachers will be participating at KHS. Students and teachers can choose how much they are willing to talk, but will be passing out informative flyers to their peers to explain their silence.
Early this year Jill Pratt, a teacher at KHS, launched “Safe Space,” an after-school club that provides a place for students to talk and have a comfort zone within the high school.
“A few more students have joined since last year, and a lot come and go depending on if they can come to the meetings,” Pratt said.
Classrooms throughout the school now display Safe Space support stickers.
Pratt said Safe Space and the National Day of Silence is important not only to Kings, but the world.
“I’ve never actually done the day of silence, but the students I know — that a lot of us know — who are gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual, they’re so brave,” she said. “When you have a student who is willing to explain themselves over and over to people who are not ignorant in a bad way, but just don’t understand … I’m doing it this year to be supportive of the students that are so brave every day of their lives.”
KHS Senior, Kayden Whitaker (above), a member of Safe Space, said the Day of Silence has personal meaning for him.
“I’ve done this for the past four years,” he said. “I wanted to do this for my friends who have committed suicide and for those who are too afraid to go to school because of the bullying they’ve gone through.”
Pratt said participants can choose just how silent they need to be today, depnding on theri comfort level.
“Some kids will have flyers to pass out, to explain, while some other kids will be completely silent and not talk at all,” she said. “I will be partly silent during “social time” such as when I’m talking to teachers, but I will talk during my lesson plans and talking to students.”
Pratt said today is about respect.
“It’s a respect for people who have been silenced,” she said. “Either people who are no longer with us or people who cannot express themselves or feel that they cannot be themselves because of how they’re afraid of how people will treat them.”
More information on the Day of Silence is avaiable on www.dayofsilence.org
By Kaity Frederick