Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, April 25, 2008


SNOQUALMIE, Wash., April 25, 2008 -- A press conference will be held at the Snoqualmie Library (7824 Center Blvd SE, Snoqualmie, WA) on Friday, April 25, at 11 a.m. to address misconceptions being perpetuated regarding the annual Day of Silence, which seeks to bring attention to anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.

Community members, some of whom plan to show solidarity with participating students outside the school before school starts, will join a panel of local Snoqualmie Valley residents, including clergy, parents, and current and former high school students, and representatives from the Washington State chapter of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The panelists include:

Stephen Hadden is the pastor of Tolt United Church of Christ. His church purchased a full-page advertisement in this week's Snoqualmie Valley Record in support of the Day of Silence and the Mt. Si High School Gay-Straight Alliance. Nearly half of high-school-age youth at his church go to Mt Si High School.

Jane Storrs is a nurse and mother of three teenage children. Her daughter attends Mt. Si High School. She will talk about how the Day of Silence will be a benefit to the students of Mt. Si High School. Neil Lequia, a former Mt. Si High School student who experienced anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment at the hands of his peers, will share his experiences and discuss why the Day of Silence is important.

GLSEN, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students, is the official organizational sponsor for the event. A record 7,000 schools nationwide and 223 in Washington are expected to participate.

"The Day of Silence helps bring us closer to making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America's schools," said Robert Raketty, executive director of GLSEN Washington State. "The sad truth remains that anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling continues to be the rule - not the exception - in Washington State schools."

This year's event will be held in memory of Lawrence King, a 15-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., who was shot and killed in school on Feb. 12 because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

"For the majority of students, the Day of Silence is a chance to see things from another's perspective and develop tolerance and empathy,"Storrs explains. "For youth struggling to fit in, the Day of Silence offers a chance to be acknowledged by their peers. For everyone, the Day of Silence opens doors to reflection about bullying, tolerance, and compassion.

"As a nurse I've seen kids with an alternate sexual orientation or gender identity suffer isolation, depression, and suicide. Spending a day in silence allows students a safe place to consider a different perspective and the challenges faced by a minority group. In a world often lacking compassion this might be a rare opportunity for our high school students to develop important character traits. It also gives them practice honoring diversity."

Four out of five LGBT students are harassed every year because of their sexual orientation, according to GLSEN's 2005 National School Climate Survey. Additionally, 64% of students said they feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 40% because of their gender expression.

About GLSEN Washington State
GLSEN Washington State is a chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the nation's leading education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. For more information, call 206-330-2099 or visit www.glsenwa.org.


Anonymous said...

I see all the PRO-gay side represented in Mt. Si's meeting today, but where is the other side?

Anonymous said...

They were all at the school.

The conference was held, not intending on having counter-protesters at the school.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought high school was about education. Instead I learn it is about political agendas. No wonder we can't pass a bond in this district. Who wants to build another political platform?

Kudos to the CoDE to get the focus in this district back on education and not political agendas.

Anonymous said...

From KOMO news: "Seventeen of 19 high schools in King County participated in the National Day of Silence, but none of the other schools had any of the tense moments seen in Snoqualmie."

So let's see, it is the fault of folks with 'political agendas', rather than those trying to foist their social agenda into our public schools (aka CoDE) that are at fault here?

I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

The press conference was great! They had great panelists who represented every segment of the Snoqualmie Valley Community. It was very empowering to see such a show of support for our kids at Mt. Si. Kudos to GLSEN for organizing this!

Anonymous said...

I am Neil Lequia's father and I know Neil and he only did this to draw attention to himself.