April 16 is the National Day of Silence, a nationwide observance organized by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network in which students in classrooms across the country will help bring attention to the problems of anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment in their schools by taking a one-day vow of silence.
Today, the American Family Association sent out an e-mail urging its members and supporters to fight back against the Day of Silence by keeping their children home from school that day.
The e-mail, signed by newly-crowned AFA president Tim Wildmon, says:
“Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Please join the national effort to restore to public education a proper understanding of the role of government-subsidized schools. You can help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence.
“Parents should no longer passively countenance the political usurpation of public school classrooms through student silence.
“If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by calling their children out of school on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence.
“School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.”
Okay, first of all, as the parent of a son who is constantly getting in trouble for talking when he shouldn’t be, the idea that students are disrupting classes by being quiet made me laugh out loud. Most teachers I know (including my now-retired father and my sister), would love to have a whole day of quiet students for a change! I figure that allowing a student to write an answer down — on paper or the blackboard — instead of speaking to answer a question would be a small price most teachers would willingly pay.
Anyway, after I laughed at that part, I got angry at this part: the idea that these right-wing jerks have the gall to accuse LGBT students and their supporters of “politicizing the classroom” when it is in fact the right-wingers who are most often politicizing the classroom by trying to force their religious beliefs into the public school curricula. Especially here in Texas where the right-wingers have managed to get elected to the state Board of Education and are now raping our textbooks to replace historical and scientific fact and sound scientific theory with their own personal religious beliefs and , often, bigotry.
Wildmon tells his followers to go here to learn about how to participate in the “Day of Silence Walkout,” and urging them to contact their children’s schools and tell them that if the school is participating in National Day of Silence, they will be keeping their children home that day.
So I am asking all of you to go to National Day of Silence Web site to find out all the info you can, and to let the schools in your area know that you support their participation in this observance.