What NJ Students Said During Walkouts Against Gun Violence
TRENTON — Students around New Jersey walked out of class as part of the National School Walkout Day on the one month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, students left class at 10 a.m. and observed 17 minutes of silence, one minute for each of those killed at the school.
A majority of the school's 1,600 students walked onto the cold football field at Princeton High School and listened to the names of the 17 slain victims. Several residents also stood on the sidewalk outside the field holding anti-gun violence signs in support of the students.
Junior May Kotsen said she thought the walkout would be a good way to show solidarity with the victims.
"Thoughts and prayers only do so much and we really need action in order to change things," Kotsen said.
She said it is "super important" for students to tell politicians that if they accept contributions from the National Rifle Association students will not support them and to campaign for candidates who share their view.
Kotsen said there has been discussion between students who think the walkout is useless and those who strongly support gun rights.
"Walkouts give teenagers a voice," Kotsen said.
Princeton police blocked off the streets around both the high school and middle school where students walked onto the field and formed a heart.
All the high school students then walked back into the school to participate in seminars on mental health awareness, community service and petitioning elected officials.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-Somerset, also addressed the students .
Rosa Rodriquez was the only student to walk out of Sayreville War Memorial High School, according to WINS, where students were threatened with a two-day suspension. Video showed her standing on the edge of Washington Road in front of then with a Sayreville police car parked next to her.
Around the state:
- About 350 students from Lakewood High School chanted "grades up guns down" and "never forget never again, according to the Lakewood Scoop.
- Communications High School in Wall had a rally indoors and a walkout, according to the Asbury Park Press.
- The Asbury Park Press reported 712 students at Donovan Catholic attended a prayer service.
- Hundreds of students walked out at Passaic High School, according to NorthJersey.com/
- Good Morning America showed video of students at Cherry Hill West walking the track.
- Buses blocked the entrance to West Milford High School where students stayed in the building, according to NorthJersey.com
Atlantic City Police put Atlantic City High School on lockdown as the walkout was getting underway. The lockout was lifted and students dismissed around 1 p.m. The Press of Atlantic City reported a student received a threatening text and alerted police who were already at the school for the walkout.
A walkout at Hackensack High School was canceled over "security concerns." Instead, they viewed presentation on the school's closed circuit television station in support of Stoneman students.
An anonymous threat made late Tuesday night against the Clearview Regional High School district led to the cancellation of classes on Wednesday, according to Harrison Township police. The department continued to investigate the source of the threat.
A 15-year-old Toms River school district student was taken into custody after making a post alluding to violence on Instagram, according to Toms River police. The walkout activities went on as scheduled at schools.
Not everyone supportive:
Adam Hochran and David Matthau contributed to this report.