Education

Public School Protest for Gay Rights Dangerously Misguided

| by Illinois Family Institute

The Illinois Family Institute is part of a national coalition of pro-family organizations urging parents to call their children out of school on April 17. This is the day designated for this year's Day of Silence when students and/or teachers will purposely remain silent during instructional time to protest so-called discrimination and gain sympathy for students who identify as homosexual or transgender.

The Day of Silence is a yearly event sponsored by the partisan political action group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral. It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence.

The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute explains that "While in the public school setting, it is legitimate to teach students that there exist diverse opinions on this issue, it is not legitimate to imply that one of those opinions is preferable to another. While it is appropriate to teach students that tolerance requires that society should treat all with civility, it is not appropriate to teach that tolerance requires students to accept the view that homosexual conduct is moral."

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Higgins further emphasizes that "The worthy end of eliminating harassment does not justify the means of exploiting instructional time." The First Amendment already allows DOS participants to wear t-shirts or put up posters, but according to a document co-written by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, a "school can regulate what students say. . . and it can also insist that students respond to questions, make presentations, etc." Students and teachers should not be allowed to exploit instructional time to advance their socio- political goals.

Parents are encouraged to call their children's middle schools and high schools to ask whether the administration and/or teachers will permit students to remain silent during class on the Day of Silence. If so, parents can express their opposition by calling their children out of school on that day and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children's teachers, and all school board members.

Read an Opposing View from Dr. Warren Throckmorton, "Illinois Family Institute Hates the Sin, Avoids the Sinner."

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