Students at Central High School celebrated the National Day of Silence on April 15, followed by a Rainbow Run to support their peers as part of their Project-Based Graduation Requirements.
The National Day of Silence was first organized by students at the University of Virginia in 1996 and is an annual day of action held each April to spread awareness about the effects of bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their supporters.
At Central, students spread facts based on the 2013 National School Climate Survey, a study conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network that surveyed nearly 8,000 middle and high school students. The survey reports that nearly six in ten lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation and half of them reported experiencing some form of electronic harassment.
The Central students also purchased a card that they wore over their mouths in an effort to protest harassment, discrimination and hate.
Following the Day of Silence, students participated in a celebration of life, freedom and tolerance called the “Rainbow Run.” Student advisor Tracey Boothman worked with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to secure a safe 5K route for students to run.
More than 50 students participated in this first-time event by wearing all white clothing. As they ran the course, they were splashed with colored chalk by event participants. Students completed the run on the plaza between Central and Classical high schools and were welcomed back by live music as the splashing of color continued.
A fun event with an important message was enjoyed by all.