by 365Gay.com Newscenter StaffPosted: April 3, 2008 – 1:00 pm ET
(New York City) This year’s national annual Day of Silence, when students observe a vow of silence to bring attention to bullying and harassment of LGBT students, will be dedicated to the memory of 15 year old Lawrence King.
The openly gay eighth-grader was shot by a fellow student in front of classmates in February in Oxnard, California. He died after being declared brain dead and life support was removed.
Brandon David McInerney, 14, has been charged with murder as a hate crime.
King would wear feminine attire, making him an unpopular figure with other boys at his campus.
The National Day of Silence will be held on April 25 this year.
“While this event is held every year to bring hope to millions of students, the murder of Lawrence King represents a literal and absolute definition of the silence many of them feel,” said the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which sponsors the Day of Silence.
The Day of Silence was created by University of Virginia students in 1996 and became a national event in 1997. GLSEN became the national sponsor in 2001.
This year hundreds of thousands of students at schoolSeand colleges across the country are expected to participate.
A 2005 study commissioned by GLSEN found that gay-bashing remains a major problem in the nation’s schools.
Three-quarters of students surveyed across America said that over the past year they heard derogatory remarks such as “faggot” or “dyke” frequently or often at school, and nearly nine out of ten reported hearing “that’s so gay” or “you’re so gay” – meaning stupid or worthless – frequently or often.
Over a third of students said they experienced physical harassment at school on the basis of sexual orientation and more than a quarter on the basis of their gender expression.
Nearly one-in-five students reported they had been physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and over a tenth because of their gender expression.
The study also showed that bullying has had a negative impact on learning.
LGBT students were five times more likely to report having skipped school in the last month because of safety concerns than the general population of students.