All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emails with Andy Smith on Elmbrook's Day of Silence

The following is the email correspondence between Andy Smith and me, regarding the Day of Silence observation at Elmbrook's high schools. It is in chronological order.
April 23, 2008 11:50 AM (cc Andy Smith)

Dear Dr. Gibson,

I have received an email concerning the Day of Silence this Friday. It lists Wisconsin schools that are participating. Two entries are noted under the names East High School and Central High School, but it does not give the school district those schools are from.

Is Brookfield Central or East participating in the Day of Silence? If so, who makes that decision, the board, administration, or the principals?

Thank you,

Kyle Prast
April 23, 2008 12:06 PM

Hi Kyle:
I'll check with the high schools, but let me first make sure I know what I'm looking into.
Is this the national (international?) day of silence for homosexuals who've been murdered or assaulted because of their sexual orientation, or does this refer to something else?

I think there is such a day for the above reason, but perhaps there is another type of action going on this Friday that relates to something entirely different.

I'm sorry that I'm not personally up on it. If you can please clarify, I'll check for you.
- Andy


April 23, 2008 4:41 PM

Gee Andy, I did not know there were any other days of silence, but here is the website for the one I am talking about that happens every April.

As you can see by the website, it is this Friday April 25th.


April 24, 2008 8:21 AM

Hello Kyle:
I was talking with Don LaBonte, BCHS principal, which gave me the opportunity to ask about your question. He indicated that for some years now, there have been students at each high school who make a personal decision to not speak as their participation in and observance of the "Day of Silence."

I have not had a chance to personally reach Brett Bowers, BEHS principal, but am passing along Don's explanation which indicates students at both schools take part in the observance. I can get a phone call into Brett this morning if you would like, unless the above covers your inquiry.
- Andy

April 24, 2008 8:43 AM

Dear Andy,

Yes, if you could ask Brett Bowers, that would be great.

So you are saying "Day of Silence" is not officially sanctioned by the principal or administration?

Is the "Day of Silence" mentioned in any way by teachers to their classes? Or is there any sort of official announcement or information given to the students about this?



April 24, 2008 10:51 AM

Hi Kyle:
I talked with Brett. Here is the information you asked about:

1. Yes, the Day of Silence is a school sanctioned event, authorized at the principal level. It is part of a nationwide event. The observance of the Day of Silence has taken place for a number of years now at both Central and East.

2. It is not sponsored or organized by either of the schools, but rather by a student club at each school that promotes respect for all persons and takes a special interest in the personal safety at school of all persons, including those who may consider themselves to have a personal sexual identity different from the mainstream of heterosexual male and female.

3. Just as with the activities of any other club or organization, information about the Day of Silence is prepared not by the school but by the club ... if desired, for instance, items could be prepared for the daily announcements. The principal signs-off on poster designs and displays for the Day of Silence, just as with posters for events sponsored by other clubs and organizations. Further, any of the clubs that have met the requirements to be recognized by the school are treated with similarity regarding access to school facilities, use of tables for fundraisers, use of rooms and the like.

4. There are two ways that a student may participate in the Day of Silence. A person may be an active participant, or a person may simply show his or her support for the club's purposes and the purposes of the day's observance. An active participant will typically wear black and wear a special pin. A supporter may or may not wear black and wears a different but similar pin. A participant typically chooses not to speak throughout the day, however, such persons are not allowed to fail to respond to a question asked by a teacher, staff person or administrator. A supporter typically does speak (does not participate in the silence) is supportive by use of the pin.

5. At East, there is a voluntary end-of-the day meeting in a classroom that is called, "Breaking the Silence," where those in attendance may share their experiences, particularly whether anyone made any disrespectful or hurtful comments to individuals. Those in attendance may talk about the impact they believe they did or did not have in promoting tolerance for others and respect of all persons.

6. Just as with any other sanctioned club that has met the requirements for recognition, there is a club advisor, no different from any other organization. This club, like any other can do fundraising to support their various supplies, activities and goals. The advisor is paid from the unit budget of the school, the same as any other advisor.

I tried to be as thorough as possible, and I hope this helps with your inquiry. I appreciate your giving me a bit of time to pull together the information. (10:45am)
- Andy Smith
Director of Communications
School District of Elmbrook
April 24, 2008 1:51 PM (Kyle to Andy)

Thank you, Andy
So there you have it. All of my correspondence about the Day of Silence for 2008 between Andy Smith of Elmbrook schools and me.

Links: Betterbrookfield, Vicki Mckenna
Practically Speaking, Fairlyconservative


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