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Board ponders Day of Silence

This year’s Day of Silence at Mount Si High School could see a new round of protests.

Tempers flared when the Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors discussed the day, planned for Friday, April 17, at their Thursday, March 12 meeting.

Several parents expressed concern about the high absentee rate from school that day, and called the event disruptive.

Last year, several hundred students did not come to school because of protests by outside groups, said Beth Castle, Mount Si’s assistant principal.

School board member Rudy Edwards suggested rolling the day into a Day of Respect.

Supporters countered that this would diminish the purpose, and that the Day of Silence is a nationally-organized event.

The purpose of the event, which is locally organized by Mount Si’s Gay Straight Alliance, is to increase awareness of bullying and intolerance. Participating students agree to not speak during the day, except when necessary in class.

The day disrupts learning at the school, said Ames Lake resident Ken Hutcherson. The Redmon pastor helped organize protests last year.

The school has to balance its responsibility to teach students and their constitutional right to free speech, said Craig Husa, a school board member.

“With that attitude, you’re going to see what it is to be disruptive,” Hutcherson replied.

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