Frequently Asked Questions
(Click on the question to jump to the answer!)
What’s the Day of Dialogue all about?
The Day of Dialogue–being held this year on April 28, 2017— encourages student-initiated conversations about the fact that God cares about our lives, our relationships and our sexuality. The event gives you, as a student, an opportunity to express the true model presented by Jesus Christ in the Bible—who didn’t back away from speaking truth, but neither held back in pouring out His incredible, compassionate love for hurting and vulnerable people. His example calls us to stand up for those being harmed or bullied while offering the light of what God’s word says.
Participation is voluntary and student-directed—meaning it’s completely up to students, Christian clubs and youth groups to sign up online and then lead the activities in their school.
So be sure to mark your calendars to participate in this event in your high school or college that happens every year in mid April, this year’s event is on Friday, April 28, 2017!
How can I get in touch with other Day of Dialogue participants?
Why is it important for me to be involved?
As a Christian student, you have an opportunity to be a voice of hope in your school—you and your friends can really make the difference in changing a culture of bullying on campus. It’s also a unique opportunity for you to share a redemptive perspective (that some of your classmates may not hear elsewhere) about what God has to say on important topics people care about, like relationships, sexuality and spirituality.
The Day of Dialogue gives students a key opportunity to provide a balanced perspective and a loving, redemptive response to homosexual-themed events and discussions already occurring in public schools, such as GLSEN’s (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Day of Silence.
Who is Focus on the Family?
Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive in this culture. We’re here to come alongside families with relevance and grace at each stage of their journey. We support families as they seek to teach their children about God and His beautiful design for the family, protect themselves from the harmful influences in culture and equip themselves to make a greater difference in the lives of those around them. No matter who you are, what you’re going through or what challenges your family may be facing, we’re here to help. With practical resources—like our 1-800-A-FAMILY (1-800-232-6459) Help line, counseling and websites—we’re committed to providing trustworthy, biblical guidance and support.
Who is the Alliance Defending Freedom?
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. ADF offers pro bono legal assistance as deemed appropriate for Day of Dialogue students who encounter unconstitutional roadblocks to their free speech rights.
What is the Day of Silence?
The Day of Silence is an annual event for public school students organized by one of the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy groups—GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. This year’s Day of Silence will be celebrated in thousands of public schools on Friday, April 21, 2017. Participating students take a “vow of silence” and distribute cards proclaiming they are a part of a “national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence …” Some students even wear duct tape as part of the protest throughout the school day. GLSEN has encouraged students celebrating this event to lobby for legislation supported by homosexual-advocacy groups and to pressure school officials to implement things such as a “queer friendly” prom. During promotion of the event, teachers are encouraged to share Day of Silence resources and tools with colleagues and in their classrooms.
Why do we need a Day of Dialogue?
As a high school or college student, it can sometimes feel discouraging when controversial subjects like homosexuality are brought up in your school—and the conversation seems stifled, one-sided and doesn’t allow free room for discussion. It’s not unusual for students to often feel like their deeply held beliefs—including the deepest truths of Christianity—are being mischaracterized.
Wish your classmates could hear more of the story—like the truth about God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality? Wouldn’t it be nice if a deeper and freer conversation could happen?
The good news is, it can—and that’s why the Day of Dialogue is so needed. In contrast to the whole idea of silence, this is a day that encourages open dialogue and honest conversations among students. The Day of Dialogue is also meant to help students like you have a safe space and equal opportunity to express a faith-based viewpoint in a loving and respectful way. The event provides a critical opportunity for thousands of thoughtful teenagers, as well as college students, to be able to discuss more than one perspective on important social issues in our nation’s public schools.
What are my legal rights for participating in this event?
These fall into two basic categories:
1) First Amendment rights: As a student in a public school, you have First Amendment rights to engage in voluntary, free speech conversations in a way that does not interfere with or substantially disrupt classroom time and academic instruction. That means you can voluntarily express your personal and religious beliefs to your classmates through verbal or written expressions, as long as you follow school policy and do not engage in these activities during classroom or instruction time.
2) Equal Access rights: Student clubs (including Christian ones) and individuals also have equal access rights to participate in the same free speech expressions and activities already allowed by the school for other clubs and individuals. For instance, if your school allows a club or students to put up posters or distribute cards containing messages about a current topic, they cannot discriminate against other students or clubs who also want to use those same free speech venues to weigh in on the topic as well.
Yes, you can. As noted in the answer above, government schools cannot censor students from engaging in voluntary, free speech (written or verbal) about their deeply held religious beliefs—as long as the speech does not interrupt or cause a substantial disruption to academic instruction. For more information about this, review the legal resources in the Know Your Rights section.
Can college students participate in this event? What grade level do you have to be?
College students can and do participate in this event every year. Students should be at least at the high school level to participate and at least 13 or older. The Day of Dialogue is not intended for elementary or middle school age children.
Do I need authorization from school officials to hold this event?
While you don’t need official permission to simply hold conversations with other classmates, it is a good idea to check for applicable school policies or notify school officials that you plan to distribute Conversation Cards and/or put up posters.
In general, according to First Amendment principles, schools should allow you to distribute student-initiated messages (like the Conversation Cards) before and after class.
But schools do have the ability to enforce basic procedures and regulations that students need to follow to engage in these activities. What schools can’t do, however, is enforce these regulations in a biased way and practice what’s known as “viewpoint discrimination”—allowing certain groups and students to engage in activities, while censoring or prohibiting other groups and students from engaging in those same activities simply because school officials happen to disagree with a certain viewpoint. Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have repeatedly prohibited this kind of discrimination.
So if Day of Silence participants are allowed to put up posters and distribute cards, Day of Dialogue participants should be given the same freedom. Also, schools must take care to enforce any regulations in a fair and neutral way—meaning, they can’t require more rules or restrictions for some student groups, while not enforcing those rules for others who are engaging in the same exact activities.
What happens if I have trouble being allowed to participate in the Day of Dialogue at my school?
First, remember—even when encountering opposition or obstacles—it is extremely important to demonstrate the spirit of Christ and remain respectful at all times. If a principal or teacher (or someone else in authority) prohibits you from participating in Day of Dialogue activities, you can first graciously request that they check with a supervisor or school attorney. (See Responding to Challenges for more details).
If they continue to insist that you stop doing something like distributing Conversation Cards, you should stop immediately. Then you can call 1-800-TELL-ADF (1-800-835-5233) for help in resolving the situation quickly. ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) has a team of experienced lawyers ready and willing to help you remove any unconstitutional or improper roadblocks.
What should I do if people respond angrily to me?
Again, the most important thing you can do is to reflect the spirit of Christ by remaining firm and confident, but at the same time demonstrating compassion and kindness. Don’t return insult for insult or lose your temper. Detailed tips for handling these situations are available at Responding to Challenges.
Can I alter the materials for Day of Dialogue?
No. The posters and Conversations Cards provided on this site are designed to communicate a loving message in the most loving, respectful way. It is very important that the materials not be altered in any way, shape or form.
What are some things I can do to participate in Day of Dialogue?
Several ideas for fun things to do during the days leading up to and on the Day of Dialogue are posted here.
What can I do the rest of the year?
The Day of Dialogue doesn’t have to end on April 28! You and your friends can carry on the spirit of this movement throughout the school year. You can do things like plan follow up discussions in Christian club meetings or youth groups to discuss how your group can lead the effort in stopping and preventing bullying in your school. You can also continue to discuss ideas for being more confident and proactive in sharing your faith and sharing a redemptive perspective with your classmates about what the Bible has to say about things like relationships and sexuality. The dialogue has just begun!