Thousands of public schools nationwide will allow students affiliated with a gay and lesbian advocacy group to sponsor an anti-bullying "Day of Silence" on Friday, a demonstration some socially conservative family organizations say is a disruptive waste of taxpayer dollars and a reason to keep kids out of school. GLSEN â€” the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network â€” is organizing the 15th annual Day of Silence for April 16, encouraging students to remain mute during classes to call attention to verbal and physical abuse of gay students.
GLSEN says students at more than 5,000 middle and high schools are expected to participate, and over 30,000 people have joined a Facebook event promoting the effort. Many sport T-shirts or hand out literature promoting alliances between gay and straight students.
But family advocacy groups warn that GLSEN is using the day to try to indoctrinate kids and force a pro-gay agenda into schools â€” something they want kept out of class entirely.
"I think that we shouldn't be exploiting public education for this," said Laurie Higgins, director of school advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute. "There are better ways to use taxpayer money. We send our kids there to learn the subject matter, not ... to be unwillingly exposed to political protest during instructional time."