🔴 The walkout was scheduled for Friday during Passover

🔴 Two Camden County Commissioners called for its cancellation

🔴 A new event in May will take the walkout's place

VOORHEES — A walkout in support of Palestine by students at Eastern Regional High School has been canceled following an outcry by top Democratic officials in Camden County.

In its stead, a broader peace rally has been scheduled.

The lunchtime walkout that district administrators had approved would have happened Friday afternoon in the football stadium.

Camden County Commissioners Jeffrey Nash and Melinda Kane called on Superintendent Robert S. Cloutier to cancel the event, arguing that it would happen during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

In a message to the school community, the district said "student leadership" held a conference with administrators on Wednesday. As a result, the "students agreed to cancel this week's event in order to meet together and plan a united rally in support of basic human rights for the innocent people on both sides of the conflict."

Nash announced Wednesday morning the walkout was canceled.

“We have been advised school administrators worked with students to come together and join hands for a rally for peace on May 20. They have decided to abandon the Palestinian protest during school during Passover,” Nash said in a written statement.

Event snowballs in size

Nash told New Jersey 101.5 that after a flyer was altered to invite anyone who wanted to attend the event became larger than life.

"I know that Voorhees police were called in to discuss security for that event. The best solution is that this hate event that was planned was canceled in favor of a rally for peace, which I think everyone supports," Nash said.

Voorhees police Capt. Carmen Del Palazzo says the department will have extra patrols around the school on Friday.

Kane is a former member of the Katz Jewish Community Center board and a founding member of Congregation Kol Ami. Nash is CEO of the Rowan University Rutgers Camden Board of Governors.

ALSO READ: Officials want NJ high school to cancel pro-Palestinian walk-out

The Voorhees Township Committee also denounced the event saying that while they support free speech, the safety, physical and psychological well-being of students should be their priority.

Cloutier on Wednesday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information about the walkout cancellation.

Flyer promoting pro-Palestinian rally at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees
Flyer promoting pro-Palestinian rally at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees (listener submitted)

'An appropriate decision'

Rep. Donald Norcross, D-NJ 1st District, called the decision to cancel the walkout "appropriate" given the it was happening during Passover.

"Many of our Jewish friends and neighbors in New Jersey have ties to Israel and lost loved ones in the October 7th massacre. The planned walkout would have undoubtedly exacerbated the pain of the Jewish community which includes many students, faculty, and staff at Eastern High School," Norcross said in a statement.

Norcross said that while he understands the concerns about the ongoing loss of life in Gaza it is Hamas' actions that caused it.

"Not only did these terrorists attack Israel, killing children and raping women, but the group also continues to hold 133 Israeli hostages and has repeatedly rejected proposals to release them in exchange for a ceasefire," Norcross said. "At the same time, Hamas leadership promises to attack Israel again if it is able and continues to use a mantra of ‘death to Jews.’"

One of the hostages held by Hamas is Edan Alexander, an 18-year-old from Tenafly. He was serving with the Israeli Defense Forces at the time of the Oct. 7 attack. His parents were Norcross' guests during the State of the Union address in March.

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