Teens Plan to Walk Out of School — These NJ Colleges Don’t Mind
TRENTON — More New Jersey schools have joined the list of colleges and universities around the country that say they'll overlook any disciplinary action taken against applicants for participating in walkouts related to the Parkland school shooting.
Drew, Monmouth, Rider and Rutgers universities as well as The College of New Jersey said on Monday that the applicants can participate in upcoming walkouts to commemorate the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, March 14 without fear of it having an effect on the admissions process.
Most schools had a no-questions-asked approach and would not consider any disciplinary action their current school may take. Princeton University, however, said it would consider disciplinary action taken against students on a case-by-case basis.
In a statement, the Ivy League school wrote "students who act on their conscience in peaceful, principled protest will receive full consideration in our admissions process." However, candidates will be required to include statements explaining why they chose to protest.
"We evaluate such statements in the light of all relevant circumstances, including the character of the student conduct involved and the school’s justification for disciplining it," the school wrote.
Other New Jersey colleges and universities said students right to protest and express an opinion was the most important issue to consider.
"Rider would not consider any disciplinary action, as the result of peaceful demonstrations, to negatively impact our decision making process," spokeswoman Kristine Brown told New Jersey 101.5
In a message on Twitter Rutgers wrote, "we want to reassure students who have applied or have been admitted to @RutgersU that disciplinary actions associated with participation in peaceful protests will not jeopardize your admission."
"Drew University admissions offers will not be affected by high school disciplinary actions that result from a student's peaceful participation in protest activities," wrote spokeswoman Kira Poplowski.
TCNJ spokesman Luke Sacks in a statement "The College of New Jersey encourages civil discourse and respects the rights of students to participate in peaceful and lawful protests. Discipline resulting from such participation will not be held against applicants to TCNJ."
"Monmouth University has a long tradition of and commitment to responsible citizenship. We believe strongly in the empowerment of our campus community and a lifelong commitment to students," Monmouth University wrote in a tweet.
Stockton University spokeswoman Diane D’Amico wrote, “Stockton University’s mission includes actively promoting civic engagement by young people. Our admissions process includes a comprehensive review of a prospective student’s entire application and would not be based on their peaceful protest of, or potential suspension for, this or any issue.”
Several other colleges and universities contacted by New Jersey 101.5 said they are still considering the policy.
Organized by the same group that put together the Women's March, participating students will walk out of school for 17 minutes to "to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods," according to a Facebook page organizing the national effort.
Students from schools in two dozen New Jersey public school districts have signed up to participate in the the "#Enough National School Walkout" on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting. Their participation is not organized by the schools themselves.
Several public school districts contacted by New Jersey 101.5 did not yet respond to messages asking if they had come up with a plan for their students.