B-P students take on LGBT bullying

BROADALBIN – Allyson Becker has always been a supporter of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

She also has seen friends being bullied.

On April 15, she took a vow of silence along with almost 100 other Broadalbin-Perth High School students in an effort to bring attention to the silencing effects of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

“I want to make a safer environment that supports that in a school,” Becker said.

The 11th-grader is the vice president of Broadalbin-Perth’s Alliance Club. There had been talk of the club for a while, and this year, the club finally came to fruition.

“We offer a safe place for everyone to come,” Becker said.

So far, the club has more than 10 members, who meet every Wednesday.

Becker said the school and community have received the club well.

A teacher adviser suggested taking part in the the nationally known Day of Silence.

Becker said the club got permission from the high school principal and the district Board of Education to proceed.

Becker and other student advisers explained the intent for the Day of Silence during a faculty meeting.

“We talked to the teachers and it went over very well,” she said.

Students who signed up to participate did not speak the entire day. Faculty was notified in advance, and those involved wore rainbow-colored ribbons.

“Even people that weren’t doing it thought it was very admirable,” Becker said.

Many of the teachers wore ribbons in support, she said.

According to the Day of Silence website, the event started in 1996 at the University of Virgina and has since spread to schools across the country.

Students from the Alliance Club attended a “break the silence” event at the Empire State Plaza in Albany the evening of April 15.

Becker said students from all over counted down until the silence was broken.

“We all screamed,” Becker said.

She said the warm, inviting environment provided an opportunity to mingle with other supporters and get the chance to hear their stories.

“People [at school] saw what we are doing, and hopefully they decide to start coming to the club next year,” Becker said. “After the support shown at the Day of Silence, I think we are making a huge leap.”

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