Today, students at Bedford High School are taking part in a school-supported “day of silence” described as a “silent demonstration” for LGBTQA+ rights. Participation earns students 6 “Democracy Hours,” hours that count as “Real World Learning Hours,” a requirement for graduation.
That this was happening at all came as a surprise to many students and their parents. And, this isn’t a “moment” of silence, but an entire day of silencing our children.
There are many reasons why this is a terrible idea, both from a practical and learning standpoint.
- While participation is voluntary, it is “encouraged” and rewarded, clear indicators of expected behavior, or as we would put it, indoctrination.
- Moments of silence have often been attacked as thinly veiled attempts at bringing prayer into the classroom and unfairly subjecting students to an “uncomfortable” period of time. How are we to define a day of silence? Those who do not participate will surely feel pressured and uncomfortable throughout the seven-hour school day. And, if we’re to be honest, isn’t that the point?
- No independent thought is invited here. Each participating student turns in a “compliance” form that is also a pre-worded position statement. The form is even phrased in such a way to imply that those who do not participate are somehow on the side of “hatred, oppression, and prejudice,” ending with a challenge to the reader to agree and act. The message is clear. Those who participate and sign on are right and good. Those who do not, for whatever reason, are wrong.
- Increasingly, discussion or individual interpretation is not invited when it comes to the concept of social justice and allegations of systemic oppression, and we must not question those who frame the argument. They are the sole arbiters of truth and change. It is about compliance, not the true individual development of a person’s thoughts, morals, or principles.
- We have had precious few in-person learning days this school year after an entire school year marked by setbacks and remote learning challenges. Sacrificing an entire day of communication is simply a waste of precious learning time and sets us further back.
Students should not be silenced or forced into conformity. If anything, we need more voices, including those willing to speak out against the mass social indoctrination happening in our schools.