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National Day of Silence Fights Violence and Discrimination Against LGBT Youth

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) applaud everyone who is taking part in this year's National Day of Silence on April 19 The National Day of Silence is coordinated nationally by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where students from around the country take a vow of silence to bring attention to the anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment faced in schools by students, teachers and other school staff.

The National Day of Silence started at the University of Virginia 17 years ago. Over 500,000 students from over 8,000 junior and high schools in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have participated in the National Day of Silence in past years.

"I was one of the first Members of Congress to acknowledge the Day of Silence, and I have introduced a bill of support many times over the years. Sadly, violence and discrimination against LGBT youth is all-too-common in American schools. It is a national disgrace that students feel threatened in school simply because of their sexual orientation," said Congressman Engel. "As a former public school teacher, I am proud to introduce this resolution. Americans need to know that thousands of children each day go to school deprived of a happy adolescence because of the insensitivity and cruelty shown by some fellow students, teachers, staff and parents."

"America's schools should be safe places for students to receive a first-rate education and learn in a welcoming environment. No young person should ever be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud to join Congressman Engel in introducing this resolution in support of the goals of the Day of Silence, and will continue to work to help raise awareness about the challenges facing LGBT youth in our schools," added Congressman Cicilline.

According to a 2011 National School Climate Survey:

Over 80 percent of LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation;
Nearly 40 percent reported being physically harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation;
Over 60 percent reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and over 40% because of their gender expression; and
Over 30 percent reported missing at least one entire school day in the last month because of safety concerns.
Other co-sponsors include -- Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Jim Moran (D-VA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Robert Brady (D-PA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Susan Davis (D-CA), José Serrano (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Judy Chu (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Robert Andrews (D-NJ), Dina Titus (D-NV), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Al Green (D-TX).

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