In a major victory for pro-family forces, schools in the Provo City School District will NOT participate in the so-called "National Day of Silence", during which students are asked to give up talking for a day to show solidarity with homosexuals. Full story in the Deseret Morning News.
The event, slated for April 25th, was created with the ostensible aim of symbolizing how students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are supposedly forced to keep quiet about their sexual orientation for fear of abuse at school and elsewhere. However, in some schools, participating students go to ludicrous extremes, to include wearing a piece of tape over their mouth with a word such as "tolerance" written on the tape. They hand out a card explaining the reason behind their actions.
The event is sponsored by a national group called Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which claims merely to be striving to end "bullying and harassment" in schools regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN is the major force behind the organization of "homosexual embassies", euphemistically referred to as "gay-straight clubs", on our high school campuses nationwide. Rachel McNeil, director of youth programs for the Utah Pride Center, claims the Day of Silence is about "creating safer schools and positive change."
Provo High School Principal Sam Ray sent an e-mail to Provo City School District administrators and board members on Thursday, saying Provo High will not be participating in the Day of Silence. Ray reiterated the high school does not now have a Gay Straight Alliance Club and the high school has requested multiple times to be removed from the Day of Silence mailing list. "I see this as an attempt by an outside group to disrupt our learning environment," Ray wrote.
Ray was not available for comment Thursday (March 27th), nor was Provo District Superintendent Randall J. Merrill. Assistant Superintendent Ray W. Morgan said Merrill spoke to principals after upset parents contacted the district about the potential Day of Silence. Merrill has said the event will not take place in the Provo District.
Morgan said, "Our purpose is education. Anything that disrupts learning and instruction would not be supported by our school district." Morgan added the district believes in using respect, kindness and sensitivity regarding students. "We do need to be respectful of diversity," he said. "But there are limits to free speech in a school setting."
I would encourage all pro-family activists to e-mail their congratulations to Principal Sam Ray for making this courageous decision. Recommend you CC a copy to the District Superintendent, Dr. Randall Merrill.
Sam Ray: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Randall Merrill: email@example.com
Karen McCreary, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, says the activities of the Day of Silence are protected by the First Amendment.
Many parents in the district have contacted school and board officials supporting the district's decision to not go forward with the Day of Silence. "It seems that would be pretty disruptive to classes and to what's being taught in school," said parent Adrian Parry of Provo. "I send my kids to school to learn, not be part of a political statement," Perry said.
This year's Day of Silence is in memory of Lawrence King, 15, a California eighth-grader who was shot and killed February 12th by a classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression, according to the event website. However, the media fails to note that King may have unintentionally brought it upon himself by stubbornly insisting on wearing women's clothes to school (note that this does NOT mitigate the need to punish King's assailant). This is why I support school uniforms; it would eliminate the problem and create a safer environment for students.
The MissionAmerica website offers tips on how to prevent the observance of the Day of Silence in your comunity. It also provides a national list of schools where celebration of this event is likely, based upon the fact that they may have gay-straight clubs. Here's the list of Utah high schools where celebration of this event is projected to be possible:
BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL
EAST HIGH SCHOOL
HUNTER HIGH SCHOOL
LAYTON HIGH SCHOOL
LOGAN HIGH SCHOOL
MT LOGAN MIDDLE SCHOOL
NORTHRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL
PARK CITY HIGH
ROWLAND HALL ST MARKS SCHOOL
WEST HIGH SCHOOL
Although the website's list still includes Provo High School, I have omitted it here for obvious reasons. I will e-mail MissionAmerica and ask them to delete it.
Too bad this same no-nonsense attitude is not shared by the neighboring city of American Fork. The Provo Daily Herald and the and in the Salt Lake Tribune report that on Thursday March 27th, an American Fork High School PTA meeting was canceled hours before it was set to begin Thursday, after officials learned that the discussion would involve gays and lesbians.
Alpine District spokesman Rhonda Bromley said the meeting was canceled when the school's principal found out the agenda concerning "serious social problems" would include both pornography and same-sex attraction. The principal, Carolyn Merrill, was uncomfortable holding the meeting without prior research and background information on what stance would be taken, Bromley said. However, the real reason why the meeting was cancelled was because the Utah Pride Center wanted to show up to promote the homosexual agenda and the PTA didn't want to permit it.
Update: The Provo Daily Herald reports on March 30th that the meeting originally sponsored by the local PTSA and planned for American Fork High School has been rescheduled. The meeting is now being sponsored by Citizens for Families and the Standard of Liberty, and will start at 6 p.m. Monday March 31st in the American Fork Library, 64 S. 100 East. According to an e-mail from the groups, the meeting will have the same presentations that were planned for the original parents meeting. John Gunter of Citizens for Families will speak about the dangers and availability of pornography to children. Stephen Graham of the Standard of Liberty Foundation will speak about sexual propaganda aimed at minors.
At least American Fork High School doesn't have a gay-straight club, though.