Members of Pinecrest club, Spectrum, plan on participating in a Day of Silence this Friday.

“Mr. Faw had brought up us participating in the day of silence since we’re a new club at school,” Pinecrest senior and Spectrum President Jacora Watkins said.

According to dayofsilence.org, the Day of Silence is a student-led national event, created decades ago, that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools.

According to the site, “students take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.”

“There are a lot of people who have to be silent on this campus because of who they are,” Watkins said. “It is not as bad at Pinecrest as it is in some places, but there are some people who are silent. I am excited to participate in this cause.”

Pinecrest Theater teacher Adam Faw helped students start up Spectrum, after years of not having an LGBT club on campus.

“Our club covers a wide spectrum of people, not just those who are LGBT but allies as well,” Watkins said. “We had talked about starting up a club like this in the past but we finally got around to establishing it in January.”

At Spectrum meetings, club members have a round table discussion of current events and issues going on in today’s society, but also participate in team building activities. Twelve students attended the club’s last meeting.

“The theater is a safe haven for a lot of gay people,” Watkins said. “We hope that they find this a safe place for them to talk about things they’re facing in society.”

The Day of Silence will be the first event hosted by the club. On Friday morning, the group of students participating plan on gathering in front of the flag pole before school starts and discussing their day. Then, they will begin their silence, speaking only when they are called on in class or have to address teachers.

At the end of the day, the students plan on reconvening where they will discuss what went on during their day and break their silence. Faw got the event approved by teachers and administrators beforehand, informing them about what the students plan to do.

“There may be a few eyebrows raised and questions posed about what we’re doing and that is fine,” Faw said. “But we don’t see there being any backlash coming from participating in the event. We’re hoping that we’re going about this event the correct way so there is nothing for people to backlash against.”

For Watkins, this is a way for her to have her voice be heard in a unique way.

“There are so many people out there fighting and trying to have their voices be heard,” Watkins said. “If we’re silent, we’ve said everything that we’ve needed to say. It is about being who I am and I have nothing else to give but me.”

The members of Pinecrest Spectrum are hopeful for the club’s future, thanks to the support of the community and Sandhills Pride.

“Every member of Spectrum has been supportive,” club member Noah Ambrose said. “We want this to be a safe space for everyone and we want it to grow.”

For Faw, this club is a bittersweet experience for him.

“Its amazing that this is 2016 and this is a new club on campus,” Faw said. “I’m more than happy to supervise it and have students involved but it is sad that we need a specific club for this cause.”

A previous version of this story said that the Day of Silence was in response to House Bill 2 and that Faw approached students with the idea for the club. The text has been changed to reflect that the Day of Silence was created long before HB2, in response to the bullying of LGBT students, and that the creation of the club was a collaborative effort.  

(31) comments

Comment deleted.
Christy Holland

How about you save your ultra-conservative indoctrination for at least college age kids? What are you saying, that LGBT kids are the opposite of "family values"?

Laura Lowder

At one point PHS had refused to permit the LBGT club because it had absolutely no connection to an academic function of the school. That was the sensible and appropriate position; what has happened since then is senseless.

How about a movement to stop bullying kids for being geeky, for wearing mismatched clothes, having bad haircuts, being skinny, saying something dumb in class? There's your real bullying issue, Ladies and Gentlemen -- but no one's addressing it because it's not got a multimillion dollar political lobby feeding it.

Noah Ambrose

This club is an extracurricular activity and the Day of Silence has been around for decades. There is an LGBT bullying issue in schools. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students report being verbally, physically, or sexually harassed at school compared to just 27% of all students being bullied at school. LGBT teens are also two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other teens.

Laura Lowder

I would say that the figures you offer are off, or at least misleading. Listen. I've worked at PHS. I've heard and seen the kids make an issue of their orientation in class, in the courtyard . . all with complete impunity. Quite a few are into serious public attention-seeking behaviors. On the other hand, I've called a lot of kids on the carpet for bullying other kids over other, nonsexual issues. We can also talk about the problems of kids being coerced to experiment with same-gender sex if you want to; it's not the presence of bullying that causes LGBTQ kids to attempt/commit suicide; the further into the lifestyle they get, the more likely they are to hurt themselves. Complete transgenders have nearly a 50% suicide rate, which indicates accommodations aren't fixing the root problems, which have nothing to do with others' treatment so much as with self-perception and self-loathing.
And an LGBTQXYZ club is not going to help these kids. I'm hearing reports of it being a polite hook-up venue.

Brandon Caddell

All this group is designed to do is establish a safe place for students to describe whatever issues they see within the school and community in regards to the LGBT. The presence of bullying causes many children to hurt themselves or commit suicide, not just within the LGBT community. Transgender people in an accommodating setting are no where near as likely to kill themselves as they are in a place such as this or even worse. I would also like to hear where you are getting your "reports" from. If you want to come to a meeting and see how it is really operated, by all means, arrange that with the school. I don't think that throwing around misinformation is the right way to go about this.

Brandon Caddell

And these are in response to you saying the facts and figures are off: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/facts-about-suicide
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_LGBT_youth
http://www.pflagnyc.org/safeschools/statistics

Sherri Mangum

The fact that there is no connection to an academic function of the school should not be a reason that was given. If that is true, the Christian clubs or the Environmental clubs or the Pay it Forward, etc., would not be allowed.

Laura Lowder

FCA is connected to the school's athletic programs; Young Life uses school facilities but is not sponsored by the school, if I remember correctly. An environmental club could be tied to the sciences or to civics.

Sherri Mangum

There is a Christian club not associated with athletes and many clubs are not associated with classes. I used pay it forward and others as an example. Point is, clubs are created by students based on their interests. As adults, we should support their desire to come together and create a supportive group. If any of the groups want to protest then they have a right to if it does not lead to chaos at school. People have stated this is for college age and above however I disagree.

Comment deleted.
Brandon Caddell

How are the teachers corrupting the kids by having this club on campus. If that were the case, there should not be a young republicans club, which teaches kids republican ideals and such. If that were also the case, the coaches shouldn't be able to host prayers before the football games, which is enforcing personal ideas in the children's minds. No one says anything about. And this a student led club and event with little input by the adults other than their overall support and supervision.

Christian McKeithen

Seems that kids wear their jersey on game day to promote their sports team, even football which is controversial right now. And, kids perform in plays which are part of the Arts, which is controversially funded. And, there is a French club and science club, who generally want to have access to foreigners and non-believers....so why have any clubs? The only reason this new club is considered "political" is because it is presented as such.

Brandon Caddell

You're exactly right.

Aaron Jackson

Do you have a child or are you a student of the school? Just wondering because bmc are the initials to someone I know.

Brandon Caddell

If I assume correctly, you are Aaron Jackson?

Edward & Ellen Bradford

So what happens on this day of silence when a teacher in another class calls on a student to answer a question? They get a bye for classroom participation? The Public Speaking class should be interesting.

Noah Ambrose

No they don't actually. Students have a right to remain silent during non instructional time while at school (in between classes, lunch, before and after school). If I teacher asks a student to speak for classroom participation during instructional time, then the student must speak. An email was sent out to inform the teachers of the upcoming event and students participating have been asked to let their teachers know ahead of time. Most teachers at the school are respecting the students decision and this hasn't been a problem. The teachers have been very supportive and understanding.

Noah Ambrose

Paragraph 10 states, "speaking only when they are called on in class or have to address teachers"

Hidden

Raven - please. I know these students and Teacher personally. Unless you where there, please stop. This was more of the students, that were ALREADY a club, not knowing what to do, and their sponsor - giving ideas. Regardless, why are you so passionate about students, or anyone else for that matter, showing that something that is bothering them needs to be changed and/or addressed, and showing it in a non-violent way? Just because all kids are bullied doesn't make it acceptable and "the norm" and as a matter of fact, some types of bullying is now illegal and a 3rd degree felony (internet bullying).

Martin Samchalk

Why does a public school need a day of silence because men are not allowed in the ladies room? What is happening in taxpayer funded public schools run by Dr Bob? Why was Dr Bob fired in 2014? Should the high school allow men teachers in the lady teachers rest room? Should the high school allow male students in the female students rest rooms? The Pilot needs to investigate these pressing issues. Can the Pilot accept this mission?

Carl Danis

These young people have a right to protest what they feel as in justice, the same as the TEA folks and those, for or against, hb2. Where can there be a better place to learn their ideas than in school and learn how to vent their displeasure and disgust, properly and with respect to all. If you don't like the fact the school is sponsoring it to some extent, may they should cut sponsorship and support for the GOP Groups, Christian groups, Democrat groups. Or better yet, just tape their mouths shut until they agree with your point of view.

Changes have been made to clarify the story and message behind the club and Day of Silence. I apologize for the lack of clarity in the original story.

Comment deleted.
Brandon Caddell

Please, describe my logic to me. The Day of Silence was brought about for those who have been bullied or maligned due to being a part of the LGBT. There really is no question about why parents home school. They don't feel safe having their children being harassed and bullied over something that doesn't affect others and they can't even control. Ignorance definitely is showing here.

Comment deleted.
Brandon Caddell

The students are making a stand for the LGBT community. How does a teacher coming up with a cool idea for the students to quietly support the LGBT community in any way resemble him brainwashing them? He isn't forcing them to participate or forcing these ideas or beliefs on to anyone else who does not wish to participate. And I'm pretty sure its bmc but you call me what you want.

Brandon Caddell

I would also like the people commenting about the house bill to look at the new executive order passed by governer Pat McCrory. Executive Order 93 does the following:

Maintains common sense gender-specific restroom and locker room facilities in government buildings and schools
Affirms the private sector’s right to establish its own restroom and locker room policies
Affirms the private sector and local governments’ right to establish non-discrimination employment policies for its own employees
Expands the state’s employment policy for state employees to cover sexual orientation and gender identity
Seeks legislation to reinstate the right to sue in state court for discrimination.
Maybe this is finally getting somewhere.

GroundTroops

If this teacher was promoting a day of silence in honor of Christ the school would move to fire him. Teach the curriculum and keep your personal beliefs to yourself. I am thankful to our leaders in Raleigh who took a stand for once. Men using women's restrooms and vice-versa is just crossing the line.

Penny Priest

You're exactly right...

Noah Ambrose

This Day of Silence has been around for over 20 years and has students participating in schools all across the country. This has nothing to do with HB2 or restroom policies.

Sherri Mangum

As another person stated, every club on campus MUST have a "teacher sponsor." A group of students must find a teacher to be their point of contact and to guide them through processes related to activities. If the Christian club wanted to have a Day of Silence then it would be worked through the system JUST LIKE THIS ONE! And no one would be fired. The teacher is a point of contact who is teaching the students how to handle expressing their beliefs within a system they must exist in.

Comment deleted.
Brandon Caddell

Apparently you do not understand this correctly. The students approached multiple teachers about starting this club. The Day of Silence has been around for nearly 20 years, so how is that being used in any way to protest HB2? Clubs only arise if the students want them. Also, why does there need to be a club to promote the Constitution and Bill of Rights if those are already included in the students curriculum? There are history clubs and such but do those somehow differ? America is only lost if we let bigoted, ignorant, and clearly uneducated people run it or even influence the youth in any way. I just don't understand how people can misconstrue something that is meant to do good within the school and within the community.

Jim Davis

I'm deeply disturbed that this is sponsored by a teacher at the school, there by being sanctioned by the administration. Further "the Day of Silence is a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools" has little if anything to do with HB 2. Teachers should teach and not manipulate for the purpose of making political statements. I hope this garners some attention outside of the school administration because it appears they're in need of some adult supervision...

Brandon Caddell

What is wrong with the students wanting to stand up for those who are being harassed or being bullied? You are right when you say this has nothing to do with HB2, but the teacher is in no way manipulating the students. I do not see how the teacher is manipulating the students in any way if it is a student led club? That doesn't go to say that there isn't any adult supervision because there has to be an adult there and any actions the club takes has to be passed through school officials. I'm deeply disturbed that we cannot let our students and children express their beliefs and a want for a safe environment for all and work towards making that a reality.

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