It is rare that I would quote the ACLU, but I thought that this list of tips from them on the Day of Silence and related matters looked fair.
1. You DO have a right to participate in Day of Silence and other expressions of your opinion at a public school during non-instructional time: the breaks between classes, before and after the school day, lunchtime, and any other free times during your day. If your principal or a teacher tells you otherwise, you should contact the ACLU national office or GLSEN (Benny Vasquez email@example.com, 646-388-8055).
2. You do NOT have a right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks you to speak. If you want to stay quiet during class on Day of Silence, we recommend that you talk to your teachers ahead of time, tell them what you plan to do, and ask them if it would be okay for you to communicate on that day in writing. Most teachers will probably say yes.
3. Your school is NOT required to “sponsor” Day of Silence. A lot of schools this year are announcing that they aren’t sponsoring Day of Silence due to pressure from national anti-gay groups. But Day of Silence is rarely a school-sponsored activity to begin with — it’s almost always an activity led by students. So don’t be confused — just because your school is saying that the school won’t officially sponsor or participate in Day of Silence doesn’t mean that it’s saying you can’t participate.
4. Students who oppose Day of Silence DO have the right to express their views, too. Like you, they must do so in a civil, peaceful way and they must limit their expression to non-instructional time. They do NOT have a right to skip school on Day of Silence without any consequences, just as you don’t have a right to skip school just because you don’t like what they think or say.
Those who say the DOS is a disruptive activity may not realize that the organizers communicate this to the participants. I was not aware of it either. I do not think this is widely known.
8 thoughts on “Day of Silence legal tips; you do and don’t have the right to remain silent”
I’m glad you said “may”, as although I’m sure many don’t know, others just don’t care. And will try to stop this information being publicised too.
You do know that many have been accused of being part of the “Homosexual Agenda” just for making this kind of thing known, don’t you? Please be careful it doesn’t happen to you.
Warren, you should inform Mat Staver about these… Seems he hasn’t heard much about it. 🙂
Are you telling me that a few kids not talking in the halls and at lunch would be disruptive? You’d think it would be a blessed relief….
Oh, and off topic, I heard your institution is picking up wacky ID pseudoscientist Guillermo Gonzalez. Good luck.
Those who say the DOS is a disruptive activity may not realize that the organizers communicate this to the participants.
Those who say the DOS is a disruptive activity are often looking for any excuse to believe the worst about gay people.
Those who say the DOS is a disruptive activity…
I wonder who that could be? 🙂
I’m surprised you haven’t. This is pretty core to the DOS. As far as I know every time we ever had it, we had a big meeting where it was explained it’s not an excuse to not talk in class, or to get out of a presentation etc. We only kept silent in the hallways between classes, and at lunch.
Except for one sentence this is a fair and valuable piece. The sentence I question is:
Do we really know why these schools aren’t officially sponsoring the DOS? Even if that were the reason, I don’t imagine many schools “announcing’ the fact that they caved in to anti-gay interest groups. I’ve heard some talk that schools didn’t want to ‘officially sponsor’ because that would open the door for them to have to ‘officially sponsor ‘ other groups and causes. So, it’s easier to allow students to participate in the DOS without providing an official endorsement.
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