07:59 | 26th April 2019

News: World

Fri 16 Apr, 2010
By Danielle Carter

This has been a long time coming

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Day of silence for gay students

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It's not what they say, but what they don't say that some students at Case High School hope will convey a strong message today.

The Gay-Straight Alliance at the school, in Washington is sponsoring a Day of Silence to show support for safe schools and equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender/identity expression.

Both members and supporters are participating in the day, modeled after a national Day of Silence that has thousands of students participating across the country, according to organizers.

At Case, participants plan to remain silent throughout the school day as they attend classes and walk the halls.

The Day of Silence is to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people due to harassment, bias and abuse that takes place in our society every day, said Karen Coombs, counselor for Case's Green School and advisor to the GSA.

Such harassment and bias often makes LGBT students feel isolated, which can lead to problems such as depression, drug use and homelessness, Coombs said. Having the support of a group like the GSA and events like the Day of Silence is important because it helps keep students from feeling all alone, she said.

Case's GSA is a student-run organization that was started by Danny Yakel, a senior. And while it was first formed in February, it is something that has been needed at the school for some time, Coombs said.

"This has been a long time coming," she said. "But we had to wait for a student to initiate it."

Yakel said he was surprised by the outpouring of support that students - both gay and straight- and staff have given the GSA, which draws between 40 and 60 students per meeting.

"We really haven't gotten any negative views," he said.

Students can choose to support the Day of Silence at different levels, ranging from wearing a rainbow ribbon to taking the vow of silence (with agreements to make up any missed work) and handing out information. They are also invited to express their thoughts on a paper Wall of Secrets, which has been posted in the school this week.

"You don't have to be part of the GSA to take part," Coombs said. "Anyone who wants to show their support for equality of all students can be a part of this."


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