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Group to lead effort to raise awareness, safety for all students

'Stomp' coincides with national event

March 18, 2009

The Wauwatosa West High School Gay Straight Alliance will be holding a Stomp Out the Silence Day on Wednesday, April 8.

Stomp Out the Silence is the school's way of participating in the National Day of Silence, a national youth movement started by a group of students to show others that people who are different cannot really be themselves or express themselves.

Day of Silence will be held nationwide Friday, April 17, but the GSA is participating early because of the district's spring break schedule.

Stomp out the Silence is really a breaking of the silence, showing that students who really are different will no longer stay silent, said Stacey Braund, GSA adviser and social worker at West.

"West students decided it's really a chance to have people stand up for something they may not have the courage to do alone," Braund said. "It's not meant to attack values of individuals' home lives."

She said it's meant to bring acceptance and understanding so everyone can live in harmony.

"No one deserves to be discriminated against," Braund said.

Those observing the day will try to remain silent throughout the day, except in classes when participating is necessary.

While the GSA has some 40 members, they are expecting a large turnout from their fellow students as East High School, which also has a GSA, will also be participating in the day.

Students who participate will sign up to show they are in support and, if they wish, purchase a Stomp Out the Silence T-shirt from the GSA.

According to the Day of Silence, the day was founded in 1996 at the University of Virginia and has become the largest single student-led action toward creating a safer-for-all environment, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

West High School's step team will be performing at the end of the day as a way to show they are "stomping" out the silence.

- Lori Weiss, Staff Writer

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