Michelle Rindels
Staff Writer

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April 12, 2010
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Controversial Day of Silence at Bear River marks discrimination vs. gays

Bear River High School is planning a week of events leading up to Day of Silence, which is organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and recognizes discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In addition to taking Friday's vow of silence, BRHS's Club START is encouraging students to participate in three "tolerance days": Tuesday is Color Day, where students wear colors representing their personalities, Wednesday is Compliment Day and Thursday is No Name Calling Day.

The national Day of Silence is not without controversy - the American Family Association is staging a counter-protest Friday.

AFA, a conservative Christian activist group, is urging parents to keep their children home from school on April 16.

"No school should allow an organization like GLSEN to hijack classroom instructional time for political purposes," said AFA President Tim Wildmon. "This turns taxpayer-funded government schools into propaganda forums for promoting homosexuality and cross-dressing."

He encouraged parents to boycott class if their child's school is allowing the Day of Silence.

AFA's goal is to prevent schools from receiving attendance-based government funding.

"Parents can make it easy and financially beneficial for schools to do the right thing, and can hit them in the wallet if they won't," Wildmon said.

Lambda Legal, an organization promoting civil rights for gays and lesbians, said most expressions of the Day of Silence are legal.

"So long as student expression isn't lewd or profane, and doesn't harass others, schools can't restrict it just because some students or parents find it offensive," Lambda Legal personnel said in a statement.

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The Union Updated Apr 12, 2010 08:08PM Published Apr 12, 2010 08:01PM Copyright 2010 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.