5 Spot | Daniel Hill, youth program coordinator for the Utah Pride Center | 5 Spot | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

5 Spot | Daniel Hill, youth program coordinator for the Utah Pride Center 

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Daniel Hill, youth program coordinator for the Utah Pride Center (355 N. 300 West, 539-8800), is asking students to clam up for the 12th annual Day of Silence (DOS) on Friday, April 25, to protest the silencing of GLBT students. The center will “break the silence” at 6 p.m. with a Night of Noise that includes free barbecue and live music.

How much bullying of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students goes on in local schools?

Unfortunately, prior to the passage of House Bill 325 (Bullying and Hazing Prohibitions), a standard for reporting bullying of Utah students was not in place. However, we often hear GLBT students say they don’t report harassment [out of] fear.

How are students supposed to respond to their teachers if they can’t speak?

They will have cards explaining their actions to hand out to teachers and others.

Which Utah schools are participating ... and which are not?

DOS is a national youth-led project in which individual students determine their participation. Provo High School Principal Sam Ray has said Provo High will not be participating. However, individual students have elected to join this nonviolent statement.

Doesn’t this activity play into the hands of conservative lawmakers who argue GLBT clubs in schools are disruptive to the learning environment?

It’s an opportunity to educate students, teachers and administrators about GLBT issues. Students will participate in classes by their attendance and written communication. DOS is an educational project, and civic engagement is an integral part of any educational curriculum.

What can silence do, really?

Raise awareness of verbal and physical harassment experienced by GLBT (or perceived) students, especially after the recent murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King of Oxnard, Calif., who was killed by his classmate because of his perceived sexual orientation.

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Joey Hellrung

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