Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Just One Day of Silence?

Many students at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, WA participated in a school sanctioned "Day of Silence" to, "help raise awareness of the prejudice, harassment, and discrimination that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students regularly face in their schools and communities." You can view the full press release here. Not surprisingly, a local pastor also pledged to peaceably demonstrate outside of the school grounds in order to voice his opposition to the event. For those of you familiar with the greater Seattle area you already know which of these two demonstrations was publicly ostracized.

I take issue with several aspects of this demonstration:
1) It is a school sanctioned activity, during school hours. School is about education, not political activism. I fully support their constitutional right to peaceably assemble outside the school but the school should not be involved. Furthermore, students choosing to participate during school hours should be subject to the applicable affects on their attendance records and grades.
2) A student officer of the GSA at Mt. Si High School blogged his opinion that a "Straight Pride" shirt is a sign of intolerance. Is it only intolerance when a member of the majority is prideful? How is a "Gay Pride" shirt any less intolerant by this student's standard? If showing pride in one's affiliation is intolerant, then the entire "Day of Silence" is a school endorsed display of intolerance. One cannot impose upon another different standards than he imposes upon himself and call it just.
3) If the school is going to support the agenda of one special interest group, then why not all special interest groups?
4) The event may be disruptive to the learning of other students choosing not to be involved. According to one student, a teacher participated in the demonstration last year, despite the administration's guidance to the contrary.

How about a day of silence for conservatives, pro-lifers, women, men, African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, and everyone else? I see no reason the students should talk the entire year. Forget the "Day of Silence," that's old news, say hello to the "Year of Silence." (Parents will be so "proud" they'll want their students extend the demonstration at home.)

Let me clarify that I do not condone egregious acts against anyone, regardless of their race, religion, or creed. I think our Declaration of Independence summarizes my position quite nicely, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This certainly does not mean I agree that the activities or views of all people - I love them as part of God's creation though I may ardently disagree with their actions.

My point is simply that we cannot accept the sponsorship of special interest groups by our public schools during school hours and to the detriment of students' education. Furthermore, if we're going to set this standard for one group we must open the doors for this standard to all groups. The Schools choice to sanction this demonstration evinces the flagrant subjugation to political correctness our society has taken. No wonder our students are struggling to graduate, much less excel at higher learning.


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