by Ayana Antoine ’20
Sherwood participated in their annual Day of Silence on April 27 to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. The day is to respect those who have to closet their sexual preferences and gender identity, by not speaking for the day. A large portion of students respect the silence of their peers and wear a support sticker on their shirt proudly. But, some wore the sticker and were silent only when they were in class, and the sticker was just a way to get out of doing work.
This speaks to the larger issue of lack of respect for students of minority groups. The school may have celebrated LGBTQ+ Day of Silence, International Women’s Day, and Black History Month, but nonetheless there are many instances of disrespect towards minority students. From slut shaming and harassment towards girls, to mockery of the step team and blatant criticism of Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements, to students who used the day of silence to get out of presentations in class.
According to an anonymous LGBTQ+ student at Sherwood, “[the school] doesn’t do much of anything for LGBTQ students. I was called a faggot multiple times, which still happens, and I get made fun of and unwanted sexual comments from other students.” The student says the harassment towards LGBTQ+ is brushed under the rug by certain members of Sherwood staff and commonly ignored as a topic of conversation.
Harassment of LGBTQ+ students is alarmingly high, according to study by Montgomery County council on bullying; one in three lesbian, gay and bisexual students get bullied on school property, while one in four get bullied online. It should be noted that these are only the cases they are reported.
Students’ safety and comfort is and should be the foremost priority of the school, and something that a school should be able to provide. The Code of Conduct prohibits this type of behavior but when it comes to LGBTQ+ students, there seems to be a willful ignorance.