The School Board of Broward County, FL, voted unanimously to affirm its support for the National Day of Silence observed on April 16, 2010, one of the largest student-led actions in the country sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The purpose of the National Day of Silence is for students to silently and peacefully protest anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) bullying, harassment, and name-calling. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), because students who are targeted for anti-gay or anti-transgender bullying often do not identify as LGBT, the Day of Silence represents a peaceful protest of a problem that affects all students no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The board resolution was once again sponsored by Broward County School Board Chairwoman Jennifer Gottlieb who stated “The resolution for the ‘National Day of Silence’ is more than a simple recognition supporting an LGBT/sexual minority activity in April. The resolution speaks to the importance of building a broader, critical, cultural norm in our school district. Providing our LGBT/sexual minority youth and their allies the opportunity to bring awareness to the issues of discrimination and prejudice that shadow this youth population every day is a responsibility of our educational system.”
Jeanne Jusevic and Michael Emanuel Rajner, who both serve on the District’s Diversity Committee, spoke in support of the resolution. Rajner spoke as an openly-gay man living with AIDS and urged for vigilant efforts to be implemented at the middle school level where data consistently shows an increased incidence and prevalence of bully and suicide of LGBT youth. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida ranks third (3) in the nation, behind New York and California in the total number of HIV/AIDS cases.