Day of Silence & Student Rights
Day of Silence
On the Day of Silence, hundreds of thousands of students take a vow of silence to protest bullying, harrassment and discrimination against their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) classmates. The sad fact is that LGBT students face discrimination and prejudice at school every day. A recent GLSEN survey found that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students reported being bullied or harassed at school. A third said they'd been physically attacked for being LGBT. Even worse, many are discriminated against by the very educators, principals and adminstrators who are supposed to protect them, as we know all too well from cases like Constance McMillen, Ceara Sturgis and Seth Walsh.
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Anti-LGBT discrimination at school is just the latest manefestation of a long history of rogue school districts and adminstrators attempting to overstep their bounds and trample on the rights of students. While most schools and educators respect the constitutional rights of their students, the ACLU has a long history of protecting students when schools overstep their bounds. From Mary Beth Tinker to Savana Redding, we've presented some of those cases below.
Resources for the Day of Silence and LGBT Students
- Letter to Educators About the Day of Silence
- Library: Resources and Tools for LGBT Youth
- What's Your Problem? Get Help from the ACLU!
ACLU Advocacy on Behalf of Students' Rights
- ACLU Prevails Against Pennsylvania Middle School's Ban on "I ♥ Boobies!" Cancer Awareness Bracelets - Just this week, a federal judge ordered the Easton Area School District (EASD) in Pennsylvania to allow two middle school students to wear popular breast cancer awareness bracelets from the Keep-A-Breast Foundation with the phrase "I ♥ Boobies! Save A Breast!" The ACLU of Pennsylvania had filed suit in November 2010 on behalf of the two students who were suspended for wearing the bracelets on the school’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
- "The ACLU Stood Up for Me" - A blog post about Savana Redding, whom the ACLU represented before the Supreme Court in Safford Unified School District v. Redding. In 2009, the Supreme Court found school officials acted unconstitutionally by strip-searching Redding based on the uncorroborated accusation of a fellow student.
- Students' American Flag T-Shirts Are Protected Speech - A blog post by ACLU of Northern California attorney Julia Harumi Mass about a controversey surround some students wearing American flag T-shirts during on a day celebrating Mexican heritage.
- Anti-Islam T-Shirt Ban Prompts ACLU Lawsuit - A blog post by former ACLU of Florida communications director Brandon Hensler about a lawsuit on behalf of a group of high school students charging that school administrators unlawfully those students’ free speech for wearing T-shirts that read: "Islam is of the Devil."