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Day of Silence

Some interesting chapters in American history keep marching on.

Our land was acquired through the slaughtering and sequestering of countless Indian tribes. This was conveniently taught to us as “Manifest Destiny,” just a few years ago. Our agricultural foundation was built upon the backs of slaves captured and purchased in Africa. For the past several years, we have thrown billions of dollars at the notion of implanting a democracy smack dab in the middle of the Islamic world.

With that track record, I see no reason to get in the way of Reverend Ken Hutcherson’s efforts to continue the oppression of the gay/lesbian/transsexual students in our schools.

Sarcasm aside, they represent the single most harassed, intimidated, bullied, and assaulted group of students in schools. And given that it occurs so frequently in schools, it is small wonder that we see the behavior continue on the streets of our cities nationwide. Capitol Hill in Seattle is one area of particularly troubling assaults that epitomizes the problems inherent in this mindset.

Thus, Rev. Hutcherson has brought his “personal” assault to the doorstep of Mount Si High School. He complained that it was unconscionable that “homosexuals get a whole day.” In a flagrant display of misinterpretation, Rev. Hutcherson has totally missed the point of the Day of Silence. It is not to proselytize the homosexual lifestyle, but to call attention to the harassment of a segment of our society, especially within schools, and to attempt to put a stop to it.

Actions do speak louder than words. Jesus, despite his open dislike of prostitution, rushed to the aid of a woman who was about to be stoned to death for her acts. He embraced her. Have you seen Rev. Hutcherson or any of his parishioners walking the streets of Capitol Hill in an effort to protect citizens from assault and battery?

Of course not, and through his tacit acceptance of the abuse that runs rampant through our school populations, he is in fact supporting and sustaining the oppression.

Just one more snippet of American history. Shame on you, Rev. Hutcherson.

Dave Humphrey

North Bend

Open letter

To Superintendent Joel Aune: You will receive many letters from many sources over the coming weeks, but this will be the only one from a parent who was at the “Day of Silence” the entire school day. I arrived at 7 a.m. and did not leave until my children were safely in my car at the end of the day.

This was my primary concern: my children’s safety. I would have hoped this was the school’s and the district’s, but I was disappointed. When the district spokesperson asked me why I was there and I explained the reason, her response was “with all the police here, this is probably the safest place in the area for your kids today.” My response to her and to you is: “I should not have to have police to keep my children safe at school.”

We all know that no formal education happened in the classrooms that day. I received many a text from my children, within the school, stating that all that was happening was talk about “how good the day was.” “Talk” on a “Day of Silence.” Funny, the talk was all one-sided. My kids did not want to participate. They wanted to get down to school business, learning. They didn’t “gay bash.” They didn’t deny that gays get harassed for being gay, but they did voice that they felt this was a disruption. Their day of “silence” was one of complete intolerance for their statements in a verbally violent manner from both students and teachers. Where is the tolerance for their desire for an education? Where is the silence? The motto of the day is “you are either with us or against us” and we won’t tolerate anything other than 100 percent support. So much for learning about freedom of speech.

The complete responsibility lies with you, the school and the school board. The ramifications of allowing this event were not considered in light of your charges, the complete student body and the community in which you serve. The gay community has every right to stand out there to support what they believe to be right. The parents, including Reverend Hutcherson, have the right to ask that you stay on the track of formal education. Reverend Hutcherson even has the right to protest on the basis of his religious beliefs. None of them would have been there and the need for police protection would not have been required if you had considered the children.

So what was accomplished by having this? The gay community was given the power to shut up anyone within the school who had even the slightest position aside from theirs. The student body was put at a perceived risk. Full media attention spotlighted our community and made us out to be bigots or gay lovers, which is the extreme right or left with no median of reason. Education was put aside.

My kids’ response to the Day of Silence was anger. They were angry they were put through this experience. They feel further alienated from the group that they were supposed to grow closer to and tolerate all the more. Was this the goal? I didn’t think so.

I ask, as a parent and a taxpayer, that you do your job and educate the children in the subjects in which they are enrolled. Do not allow this activity to disrupt this process in the future. You have other options in which to recognize minority groups in a way that protects the student body as a whole. Choose wisely.

Lynette Smallwood

Fall City

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