Day of Silence Met With Overwhelming Success

Day of Silence Met With Overwhelming Success

jenniferharrop

This past school year, the Gay-Straight Alliance/Diversity Club, run by staff members Ms. Susan Wick and Mrs. Lara Fasolino and junior Jaquil Brooks, has both supported and advocated diversity among the student body and has helped many students realize that one person can make a difference in the fight against bullying. On May 5, 2011, the GSA/Diversity club had their own version of the Day of Silence in the normally loud hallways of Walpole High School. The Day of Silence is annually run in mid-April by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in protest to the bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. The Day of Silence was successfully run in Walpole High School by the GSA/Diversity Club to raise awareness and further prevent the spread of bullying at WHS to make the school more tolerant towards diversity.

When first introducing the idea of the Day of Silence, Brooks, Mrs. Fasolino and Ms. Wick didn’t expect much of a response from the staff and student ┬ábody. After one day, however, they were pleasantly surprised as a sixth of the students at Walpole High made the commitment to remain silent throughout an entire school day. Ms. Wick said, “Word of mouth [from the GSA Club] really got the attention of the students. Friends of kids [in the club] supported our cause because they also think bullying [of LGBT students] is wrong, and they wanted to take part in helping to prevent it.” The GSA/Diversity Club’s peaceful protest against LGBT bullying was fully-supported by administration from the beginning. With support from both students and administration, the frameworks of the Day of Silence quickly evolved into an anticipated event at Walpole High School. Mrs. Fasolino said, “[The club] expected around 20 or 30 students to sign up, but we were pleasantly unprepared when nearly 150 kids signed up within the first hour. We had to keep printing more pink cards for the students to wear!” Staff members were also appreciative of the effort made by Brooks, Ms. Wick and Mrs. Fasolino to prevent bullying. Teachers displayed flyers and signs advertising the Day of Silence in their classrooms, and “many teachers were even coming up to [us], and telling us how much they commend our efforts and telling us to keep up the good work. It’s a nice feeling,” said Mrs. Fasolino. The initial support was a big contributor in the overall success of the Day of Silence, showing that Walpole High School is eager to begin

During the Day of Silence, many students tried their hardest to remain silent in protest against LGBT bullying in Walpole High School. Junior Jessica Gromada found the silence “extremely difficult for a whole day, but worth it. It was extremely satisfying to be able to do something to help some of my friends and classmates who suffer in silence everyday.” Many other students felt the same as Gromada about the silence; many students just wanted to find a way to support their friends–the Day of Silence gave them a chance to do exactly that.

Because the event was so popular among the student body this year, Brooks, Ms. Wick and Mrs. Fasolino have already planned on bringing the Day of Silence back to Walpole High next spring. This year, many students wanted to get involved after the deadline to sign up–April 29–but were unable to. For that reason, Ms. Wick and Mrs. Fasolino are going to organize the event next Spring–not on the official Day of Silence, again, because that date falls over Walpole High School’s April Break–and they are expecting “an even greater turnout” said Ms. Wick, “because the event is definitely gaining momentum.”