High Schoolers Throw 'Anti-Gay Day' to Protest Lesson in Tolerance

man wearing flannelOn April 17, the LGBTQ group GLSEN observed its annual "Day of Silence" to bring awareness to the bullying and abuse that queer students endure in high schools across the country. Because of a school conflict with that day, the Gay-Straight Alliance at McGuffey High School in Pennsylvania decided to observe the occasion on Wednesday. But the day after their peaceful demonstration, another group of students organized an "Anti-Gay Day" during which they wore flannel, posted Bible verses on their queer classmates' lockers and harassed those who celebrated the previous day's Day of Silence.

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The Gay-Straight Alliance's Day of Silence meant that roughly 30 to 50 students chose to stay silent for the duration of the day. According to an interview with Buzzfeed, a 16-year-old student at the Pennsylvania school notes that the event was accepted throughout the school. There were no attacks that day.

Unfortunately, things changed on Thursday.

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A group of students staged a protest, bullied their peers by posting Bible quotes on Instagram and tagging their gay classmates and allegedly created a "lynch list" that called out students who had participated in the Day of Silence.

The story has since gained widespread media attention and while we'd like to believe that people -- and kids -- are becoming more and more accepting, this incident proves otherwise.

Bullying, whether it's physical, verbal, emotional, indirect, or online, is destructive to an entire school. In their 2013 National School Climate Survey, the GLSEN reported a hostile school environment in which more than 55 percent of LGBT students feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 71 percent of students report hearing "gay" as a derogatory attack.

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An overwhelming portion of the students surveyed in this national study have admitted to witnessing or enduring bullying. In 2013, 74 percent of LGBT students were verbally harassed, 36 percent physically assaulted, and 49 percent report being cyber bullied because of their sexual orientation.

And shaming moments like this only add to that number.

School is meant to be a safe place for all children, regardless of their sexual identity or orientation. But this news only proves that there is still, sadly, much more to be done in order to fully bring acceptance.

What do you make of these protests?

 

Image via Nejron Photo/shutterstock

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