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Why some parents worry ‘Day of Silence’ could distract students

Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-14 18:05:45-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A planned day of silence in honor of LGBT bullying victims has some parents of at Patrick Henry High School alarmed.

The student-led "National Day of Silence" initiative Friday morning aims to spread awareness about dangers of bullying Friday.

Some students will be taking a vow of silence by voluntarily participating in the national event to shed light on anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

Zach Napier, a former Patrick Henry High student, said he participated in the "Day of Silence" in the past.

“I think it's great whenever someone can publicly express their viewpoints and they have every right to do that – [the] only question is if it's causing a distraction,” Napier said.

In fact, Napier said he understands why some might think silence could being disruptive.

“There were a lot of people with signs that they held up as a disclaimer and it did cause issues in the class,” Napier explained. “They would write stuff down when the teacher would ask questions and hardly anyone participated in classes that they would have normally participated in because of that.”

Patrick Henry High School

Patrick Henry High School

One mother voiced her concerns to WTVR CBS 6 reporter Shelby Brown on the condition of anonymity.

While she said she understands the students' goal is to encourage schools to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effects of bullying, she feels the event should be more inclusive.

“There are a lot of kids that are suicidal because they get bullied,” she said. “Why is this just for one group? Why not make this a day of silence to support all kids, all groups that get bullied?”

While the "Day of Silence" has folks buzzing on social media, Hanover school officials are concerned all the talk has generated misinformation.

Leaders emphasized the event is a student-led effort that is completely voluntary and is not being promoted by teachers or administrators.