Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day of Silence - Stop the Bullying

Bullying is a huge problem in America today. One of the most recent stories is of 11 year old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover. He was bullied daily which included being called gay and being told he acted like a girl. Carl ended up taking his life by hanging himself with an extension cord.

Carl would have turned 12 today which just so happens to be the annual Day of Silence held by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.

Here is a video with Lance Bass talking about the Day of Silence

The interesting thing about bullies are they function on fear and thinking the victim will remain quiet. Most of what is talked about is the bullying done by children. However, since the election and all the coverage of Prop 8 interesting things have happened.

Instead of the gays being silent we have taken to the street. We have said, "Enough!" We have begun to demand our equality. Interestingly enough in the wake of the huge loss in California, gay marriage has seen huge wins in the last month alone. This includes Vermont becoming the first state to legalize marriage through the legislature and not by a court decision.

So what does this do to the bully? Just when the bully thinks his victim is beaten down so much he sees that maybe there is some strength left. So he does this....

James Dobson, former leader of Focus on the Family, starts a website to counter the Day of Silence. The site is called True Tolerance. The site encourages parents to fight the schools and try to shut down the events. The site is pure bullying. Filled with lies and playing on fear to motivate others to join in the bullying.

Then there is this video.

And of course the video by the queen of bullying, Maggie Gallager - President of the National Organization for Marriage.

Just looking at the website by Dobson and these videos it becomes clear to me why we have such a bullying problem in our schools. If these are the examples kids are getting then we have a very long road ahead of us to try and fix the bullying problem in America.

Before the 2008 Day of Silence Lawrence King, a 15 year old, was shot and killed by a classmate because he was gay. This year Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover killed himself for being called gay. Clearly the grownups have not figured out that their actions and words have consequences.

The children are watching. Please, adults - Maggie and James that means you, stop the bullying. It really is hurting our families and our children.

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