On April 15, Laguna Beach High School students took a break from hallway chatter to send a message against gay bullying for the National Day of Silence.
Junior Selina Lambert hoped to bring the National Day of Silence to the school in an effort to eradicate prejudices against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
Although Selina had many supporters — about 40 signed up immediately — she also was surprised by the negative comments.
One student said, "This is gay," when they heard about it.
"I hope students will understand that this is a problem that happens nationwide," Selina said. "Hopefully, it will spark something in their minds to not use 'gay' as an insult. Their words and actions have consequences."
If she gets one less student to use those words, she said, she's met her goal.
Haley Castuera, a sophomore, heard about the National Day of Silence via blogs and websites. She saw that Selina had made a Facebook event for April 15 and asked if she could lend a hand.
Haley, 16, said she was raised with friends who were gay, lesbian and transgendered. The message Selina was trying to get out was important to her as well.
During breaks, passing period and lunch last Friday, students had the option to tape their mouths closed, writing phrases such as "No Hate," "Str8 and H8" and "Equality" in permanent marker across the tape. Some opted to wear purple and red to commemorate the day.
Selina and other organizers handed out informational cards that explained the meaning behind the day.
Haley was happily surprised by the turnout, noticing 20 to 30 people with tape, posing for pictures.
"People would ask why there is tape, and I would tell them what the day of silence meant and that we were raising awareness about anti-gay bullying in school," she said. "Some were like, 'Oh, that's cool, give me some tape'."
"I just hoped that if our school would be involved it in then other schools would get involved, too," Haley said.