Today hundreds of thousands of students nationwide fell silent. They voluntarily relinquished their right to speak as a way of bringing attention to the abuse suffered by persons born gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (GLBT).
It was a day dedicated to making the world a safer place for those who are targets of bullying, name calling, harassment, physical confrontation and other forms of abuse.
Yet some feel the day is a trick. A conspiracy to "target" children "in an effort to increase tolerance" for a "behavior" they deem evil. And so they encourage parents to teach their children to set themselves apart, to regard GLBT students – their classmates and peers – as people with whom they should not associate.
In essence, they teach their children to ignore a day that seeks to eliminate bullying.
How can a day dedicated to anti-bullying be wrong?
Statistics consistently show that 9 of 10 students who identify as GLBT are regularly harassed at school. In fact, two of the top three reasons students are harassed at school are actual or even perceived sexual orientation and gender expression.
This day should be seized as an opportunity to show compassion in action – a chance to be love personified for those who need to see that "love your neighbor as yourself" is real.
So what does it mean if children are taught to ignore a day that is dedicated to eliminating abuse?
It means many children continue to feel unloved, not accepted, and not safe.
It means many children continue to be isolated.
It means fear wins when faith is weak.
It means we failed our children.
I hope our children don't lose faith in us - or in the God who created them just as they are.
I hope they know they are not alone.