By Claire Mordi ’15

Founded in 1996, GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) Day of Silence is a day where students all over the world can band together to make a powerful impact within their schools on the topic of LGBT bullying. I am pleased to say that with a lot of planning and preparation, Morgan Park Academy’s Upper School and Middle School students were able to take part in this event to show that bullying is not acceptable anywhere, at anytime, no matter who you are.

Our student committee promoted the event by writing complimentary Post-it notes on each of our classmates’ lockers, selling T-shirts and bracelets, and organizing a huge bake sale — all leading up to the celebrated Day of Silence on April 24, when the students and faculty came dressed in black or in the Day of Silence T-shirts. Participating students remained silent during the school day outside of class participation.

But this year, not only did we on the committee want to call attention to bullying based on sexual orientation, we aimed to highlight all types of bullying, whether it’s about your sexual orientation, race or ethnic background, appearance, or your personality.

Bullying occurs in many schools, taking the forms of teasing, gossip, mocking, spreading rumors, hurtful texts or posts, physical violence, and so much more. As a victim of bullying before I came to MPA in ninth grade, I know firsthand that people can be cruel and ignorant, and that the lasting impacts of bullying can lead to loss of confidence, anxiety, depression, or even suicidal tendencies.

It takes love and support from friends and family and the realization that no one can define who you are as a person, and that’s why the Day of Silence is so important. It also gives students all over the world a chance to experience what it’s like for victims on a day-to-day basis who want to speak out, but are silent because of fear — thus cultivating awareness within themselves by breaking the everyday habit of talking.

It was amazing to see that so many MPA students and faculty were willing to participate and support the cause. It really goes to show how much we value respect for others and that is the way it should be within all schools.

If every student throughout the entire world learns the value of respect and aids in the spread of awareness, I believe that one day the cycle of bullying can be finally be broken.

Claire is a senior at Morgan Park Academy.