ORANGE COUNTY (CBS) — Hundreds of students across Orange County participated in The Day of Silence, a national, student-led event to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools on Friday.

Sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), participants agreed not to speak on campus for the entire day, unless they were called upon by a teacher.   This is the 15th year of the event which was first organized by students at the University of Virginia in 1996.

“We are deliberately being silent for the people that were forced to be silent because of prejudice and anti-gay bullying and intolerance,” said Kasey Debord of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo.

More than 20 students participated, a decision they made in response last year’s slew of teen suicides linked to gay bullying.  Much of the debate is currently focused around what role schools should play in protecting students.

Meanwhile, a California-based, pro-family group, Save, encouraged parents statewide to protest the demonstration by keeping their kids home from school Friday.

In a statement from President Randy Thomasson, the group says that the Day of Silence is gratuitous “in-your-face sexual indoctrination” and that school administrators are implicitly condoning behaviors that “disrupt the school day for politically correct sexual propaganda.”

However, an official from the county Department of Education urged parents to let their children come to school, saying that Orange County school administrators were trained to handle events like the Day of Silence in a sensitive and appropriate manner.  In fact,  no Orange County schools have reported problems in past years.

“It was a little bit different,” said science teacher Susan Phelps.  Phelps said there no problems just class discussions.  “But we are incredibly fortunate.  We have a very supportive administrative staff.”

According to a survey by GLSEN, three out of five LGBT youths report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.  In fact, one in three has missed school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (16)
  1. david sanders says:

    stupid people

  2. D S says:

    SaveCalifornia is “pro-family” because they’re anti-gay? The idiot writing this is as ignorant as that group is!

  3. Sanityforus says:

    Save california is ‘anti-gay’ ?? What morons run that group ( they MUST be related to that phelps family )

    1. Sanityforus is STOOPID! says:

      I know which group you’re referring to and by your statement alone you have now categorized yourself with those that bully anyone. And, FYI, you’re wrong about that group you’re referring to anyway. Learn more about it.

    2. MarkinFL says:

      hah, referring to someone that would pull their kids from a school because they are afraid of exposure to pro LGBT activities as morons is simply pointing out that reactionaries use very few brain cells to make decisions. Thus the moron comment.

  4. drozone69 says:

    This system will not stop until able to change the sex of incubants at will according to demographics.First the mind by subliminal control.Then the physical body through labratory genetics.Mark my words.Man is doomed to patheticism!!

    1. MarkinFL says:

      Well, you do seem to be leading the charge. :\

  5. Brutus the Barber Beefcake says:

    This one time I saw a guy walking in the street. He had a hat on and some shoes. I didn’t know what to do because he looked like he could be an Olympic judge, and i refuse to mess with Olympic judges. The fact that a rabbit was near by should’ve been a warning sign to me. I didn’t care though, and I picked up a pamphlet from the National Endowment for the Arts. They’ve done well. But yeh, silence is the work of the foozball and Bobby Boucher.

    1. Say it again! says:

      You’re preaching to the choir, buddy! Amen!

  6. says:

    Whatever the problem is, bullying is the one most stupid thing to do.

  7. dan says:

    good….that will make a big impact…

  8. AJ Morgan says:

    “California-based, pro-family group, Save, encouraged parents statewide to protest the demonstration by keeping their kids home from school Friday.”

    So, they were protesting against those protesting against bullying?

  9. Hmmmm . . . says:

    So how, exactly, are students who agree not to speak for the day unless called upon in class being disruptive? Sounds like the way school should be every day! And keeping your kids home because some students won’t be talking for the day? Have your kids miss a whole day of instruction just because some students will be silent. That’ll show those schools who’s in charge! Those students could have held rallies or picketed all day, which could have possibly caused physical altercations. Instead, they chose a quiet, dignified way to bring awareness to the issue without being disruptive. What a novel concept!

  10. Atom&Yves says:

    20 people attended? What a groundswell of support! LOL Losers

  11. Ryan Shimojima says:

    My school in oregon did it to.we wrote on white boards for the entire was actually really easy.Most teachers just put a movie on rekated to whatever unit we were in science it was genetics.and social studies was civil war.

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