The Day of Silence

The Day of Silence is a day that is celebrated in April in the United States and is celebrated on a yearly basis. It’s an observance day that is used to spread awareness about bullying and its effects on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. It was originally created in the 1990s but participation quickly spread to over 100 colleges and universities in its first year. Today, almost 10,000 schools participate in The Day of Silence. The events that occur on this day are currently organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, otherwise known as GLSEN. The day in April on which The Day of Silence changes from year to year. In 2008, it fell on April 25th. In 2011, it was the 15th and in 2012 it was on April 20th. In 2014, it was observed on April 11th and in 2015, it was observed on April 17th. In 2016, The Day of Silence was once again held on April 15th.

History of The Day of Silence

The Day of Silence was created by Maria Pulzetti, who was a student at the time, in 1996. Maria wanted to do something that would impact many of her fellow students and would raise the visibility of BGLAD (bisexual, gay and lesbian awareness days) week. At the time, she felt that panel discussions and conferences would only spread awareness to those who were willing to attend, and therefore fairly aware about bullying and harassment of the LGBT community. A year later in 1997, this day went nation and over a hundred universities began participating.

In 2000, The Day of Silence became an official project of GLSEN, thanks to Pulzetti’s classmates Chloe Palenchar and Jessie Gilliam. Eight years later, The Day of Silence was officially held in memory of Lawrence King – an 8th grader from E.O. Green Middle School who had been shot by his classmate. Today, The Day of Silence is observed by students in all fifty states in the United States and is also celebrated on an international level in schools in Russia, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The Day Of Silence Customs & Traditions

The Day of Silence is observed in schools all over the United States and the world. However, it isn’t in every school. Therefore, if students want their school to take part on this day, then it is important to gain the support of the school administration first. Students have a right to participate in the Day of Silence during non-instructional time – for instance, the breaks between classes, during lunch and at other free times the student may have during the day. However, students must recognize they do not have a right to remain silent during class if a teacher is telling them to speak. To avoid this issue arising, students should talk to teacher ahead of time and make sure they can observe the day in their classroom.

The Day of Silence is usually observed by not speaking during class and using only written forms of communication. However, The Day of Silence can be observed in just about anyway. For example, some students hold rallies and others hold lectures or seminars. What is important is for students to get the word out about the bullying and harassment of members of the LGBTQ community. If schools register online with GLSEN, then they can get all of their organizing materials for free online and also receive support and digital resources.

When is it?
This year (2023)
April 14 Friday
Next year (2024)
April 12 Friday
Last year (2022)
April 8 Friday
Awareness & Cause