Some parents say school's Day of Silence promotes gay agenda
BEAVERTON, Ore. - Some parents in the Beaverton School District are making noise about a Day of Silence scheduled for Friday at Meadow Park Middle School. They believe school administrators have gone too far by endorsing a pro-gay rights' agenda.
Students in the school's Gay-Straight Alliance Club told the principal that they wanted to take part in tomorrow's National Day of Silence, an event meant to call attention to discrimination based on sexual orientation.
On the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network's website, a video message says: "Through your active silence on the day of silence, you'll send a message that bullying and harassment experienced by LGBT-allied youth affects you, your school and your community."
Parent Chris Johnsen, whose son attends Meadow Park, says that's a fine message for kids to send but not for the school itself.
On Wednesday, the school's principal emailed parents, saying the school had planned an anti-bullying assembly for Friday. It happens to be the same day as the student-initiated National Day of Silence.
The principal informed parents that the day will be extended "to all students suffering from bullying and harassment to include cyberbullying."
The email included links to the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network's website and statistics on bullying of gay students.
"You're taking this one group's agenda and turning it into something at your school by using their name and their title of it," says Johnsen. "You are hereby promoting it."
So why use the name?
"We want Meadow Park to be a safe environment for all students," says Principal Toshiko Maurizio. "We want there to be awareness that you don't discriminate based on gender, based on sexual orientation, based on ethnicity. We just wanted that message to be loud and clear that Meadow Park is a safe environment for everybody."
Maurizio emphasizes that students are not being required to participate in the Day of Silence.
Johnsen doesn't mind the concept, but he has asked the school to change the name so that it's not affiliated with the gay group.
The school principal told KATU News that she won't do that.