Local students take a stand against harassment during national Day of Silence
April 18, 2009
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs High School students participating in Friday’s national Day of Silence made more of a statement and caused more discussion than if they had shouted all day long.
About 25 Steamboat students put tape over their mouths and stayed silent for the entire day as a symbol of solidarity with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students who are harassed across the country.
Working through the school’s chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance, the students used notepads, dry-erase markers and other forms of nonverbal communication to make it through their final day before the school’s spring break.
Parker Stegmaier, president of the club, said after the day was over that this was the first year the school has been able to participate in the national Day of Silence event. The day usually falls during the school’s spring break.
At lunch, the students, who identified themselves by wearing black T-shirts decorated with logos scrawled in paint and with tape covering their mouths, answered questions by writing on a notepad.
Senior Andrea Simon emblazoned her jeans with statements against California’s Proposition 8, which voters in that state passed in November. The statute defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Simon wrote that she did not always have support from her classmates Friday.
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“I’ve gotten a lot of rude comments from people (students) mainly for not talking or for even participating in this, but I support my friends and family and anyone who suffering injustice or discrimination for being themselves.”
Even so, she wrote she did not regret her decision.
“To me it’s worth it, no matter what people say about me or my cause,” she wrote.
Reactions from other students in the building who were not taking part in the day varied from support to indifference.
Sophomore Molly Moore, who said she participated in the event during middle school, said the no-talking tactic occasionally was more distracting than effective.
“The way they go about it, instead of being about the meaning, it’s about the duct tape,” she said.
Fellow sophomore Natalie Wright said the message of support was not always understood.
“I think a lot of people misinterpret it,” she said.
But Luke Anderson, another sophomore who was not taking part, said it was a laudable goal.
“I didn’t know about it, but it’s a good idea,” he said.