In a recent article from the AFA‘s pseudo-news outlet One News Now, attorney Mat Staver of the anti-gay Liberty Counsel claims that students today, during the Day of Silence (DoS), will refuse to answer questions from teachers in class and otherwise disrupt the operation of the school day.
‘Number one, if students will not speak up in these classes when they’re called upon, that’s disruptive — and they [the schools] don’t have to tolerate students who will not speak because of the Day of Silence,’ he suggests.
One News Now writer Jeff Johnson also chimes in:
The Day of Silence is an allegedly student-led event designed to highlight purported suffering of homosexual students. Throughout the day, students who participate in the protest refuse to talk, even when teachers or administrators ask them to respond to questions.
First of all, there is nothing “purported” about the suffering and death of Lawrence King. And denying that goes way beyond an ideological disagreement. Secondly, the ACLU has made clear that students are required to speak in class when called on by a teacher, etc. There is no ambiguity here so one has to ask why Staver and Johnson are pretending this is so.
For the record, GLSEN’s DoS manual does not once ask or recommend students not respond to teachers. It does say to discuss their plans with school administrators ahead of time, and ask permission to officially participate. If this permission is not given, it is suggested that they might plan activities outside the school. Or if silence is not preferred or practical, other activities are suggested.
This is a far cry from the attitude revealed by Staver, who tries to put the fear of legal sanctions into those who would participate:
Staver contends that schools across the country may be breaking the law by allowing students to participate in the pro-homosexual event. He notes that roughly half of the states require that if ‘sexuality is taught or discussed, it has to be done from an abstinence-based perspective.’ And he points out that ‘schools would be, literally, violating the law, if these [homosexual] clubs on campus discuss [any type of] sexual activity ….’
He goes on to inform conservative parents who keep their kids out of school today that they would have legal recourse if the absence is held against them, saying “they need to contact us so that we can resolve the matter.” Frivolous litigation is a bit of a hobby for Staver, as XGW has experienced first hand.
It’s sad that grown men and women will resort to such tactics. And it is especially ironic on a day when so many students will be showing a strength and maturity that belies their years. You could learn from them, Mr. Staver.