Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | March 14, 2006

Day of Truth is misleading at best

I’m having a hard time finding the truth in the so-called Day of Truth.

According to Day of Truth’s web site, the event was established “to counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda.” It is held one day after and specifically in response to Day of Silence. In the web site’s frequently asked questions section, Day of Truth promoters claim that “The Day of Silence … asks students to remain silent for an entire day to express their support for the promotion of the homosexual agenda in the public schools.”

That’s simply not true. So much for the Day of “Truth.”

Here’s the truth: Day of Silence’s goal is ending harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangendered students.

In case you’re not familiar with the Day of Silence – despite last year’s brouhaha after several Gilroy High School teachers participated – here’s the event’s “agenda” from the Day of Silence web site: “The Day of Silence … is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment – in effect, the silencing – experienced by LGBT students and their allies.”

By using the misnomer “Day of Truth” to describe their event, organizers imply that those who disagree with them are liars. I resent that implication.

It’s a shameful, cheap, disgraceful and deceitful tactic. I’m certain that most of the South Valley community won’t be fooled by it.

But what’s worse is what the need to “counter” Day of Silence says about Day of Truth supporters. Even if you believe that homosexuality is wrong, why would you oppose ending harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered students? But if you are countering the Day of Silence’s “agenda,” that’s what you oppose.

Despite my issues with Day of Truth, I am pleased that its organizers make a point of not interrupting the school day with their protests. They instruct participants to hand out Day of Truth cards only in free time and do not recruit teachers to participate.

I wholeheartedly support Day of Silence’s objectives. I don’t have a problem with students remaining silent to make this important point.

I do have a problem with public school teachers doing that on district time.

Not only that, but I also believe that teachers who refuse to speak in support of Day of Silence hurt their cause.

Why? Because we’re not talking about how to end harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. Instead, we’re talking about union contracts, academic freedom clauses, board policy, and classroom control.

While I oppose Day of Truth’s misleading agenda, I am glad that they take pains to make sure their activities do not interrupt teaching.

While I support Day of Silence’s agenda, I oppose involving teachers and disrupting the schooling of public school students.

Day of Silence supporters would do their cause untold good by adopting the no-interrupting-education tactics of Day of Truth organizers. It would return focus to Day of Silence’s goal by removing the opposition’s ability to focus on Day of Silence’s methods.

Incredibly, we find ourselves nearly one year after the first GHS Day of Silence without a Gilroy Unified School District policy that addresses protests on school time by employees; that’s why I feel compelled to reiterate my points from a year ago:

• We all give up some of our First Amendment rights when enter into employment contracts. I cannot divulge the trade secrets of my employer. Public school teachers cannot proselytize. School district administrators cannot discuss personnel issues with the press.

• It is not an infringement upon teachers’ First Amendment rights to require that they use all of their faculties to teach while they are on school district time. Put simply, the district has a duty to require that teachers teach.

• There’s no doubt that Day of Silence supports a good cause. But the same can be said of hundreds of other groups. We have only 180 public school days each year. We cannot afford to use them for any other purpose but teaching the math, science, foreign language, history, civics, literature analysis, physical education, writing and critical thinking lessons that our children need to master.

A few weeks remain before this year’s Day of Silence. It will be a breach of its duty to taxpayers, parents, students and the community if the school district fails to adopt a policy that ensures that GUSD teachers teach, no matter what causes they support or oppose in their private lives.

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Responses

  1. Hey if you plan any further coverage of the anti-gay “Day of Truth” this year I wanted to bring your attention to a Youtube video I made examining some of the more troubling aspects of the Day of Truth — Specifically how the DOT is little more than a thinly veiled attempt to promote “pray away the gay” programs to queer youth.

    This video covers the little discussed founding of the DOT by Tyler Chase Harper, a high-schooler who told his gay classmates they should be ashamed and are condemned by God. The video also reveals a great deal of troubling material on the DOT’s website including information discussing anal sex, bathhouses and a fake medical condition made up by the anti-gay right called “gay bowel syndrome.” Some of this material is furnished by Mission America, an organization that actually includes in it’s mission statement the need to defend the nation against witchcraft.

    -Dan Gonzales
    (I myself am a survivor of one of the “ex-gay” programs promoted by the Day of Truth)


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