On eve of planned school walkouts, local students hope message resonates

On eve of planned school walkouts, local students hope message resonates

Gateway is just one school in the region and nation that will participate in the walkout meant to last 17 minutes, one minute for each victim of February 14's Parkland, Fla. massacre where a former student killed 17 students and injured several more with an AR-15 assault weapon.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, confessed to the killings; he used an AR-15 assault rifle to shoot people in the school.

"We are not safe at school".

Last month, almost 1,000 students at Southern Regional High School and 1,000 more at the district middle school participated in a student-organized walkout to protest gun violence and memorialize the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Cole noted that the district had concluded that, for safety reasons, keeping students within school buildings is the most prudent course of action.

School administrators have made it clear they are neither for, nor against students protesting, and are not going to stop the students' First Amendment rights.

Egg Harbor Township High School, Atlantic City High School, Pleasantville High School, Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Mainland Regional High School and Middle Township High School have also committed to holding a walkout event Wednesday. "Students will be provided the opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions about the tragedy and other topics related to supporting our school and community".

Hammonton, Cedar Creek and Vineland high schools have planned for students to demonstrate in the hallways.

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"But if they don't return to class, yes, there will be consequences", he said.

Dansville Superintendent Paul Alioto said a remembrance ceremony would be staged Wednesday at roughly the same time as the national school walkout.

Students from the elementary to college level are taking up the call in a variety of ways.

"We're not exactly being heard", Gordon added.

The coordinated walkout was organized by Empower, the youth wing of the Women's March, which brought thousands to Washington, D.C., last year.

Pete Murphy, Gateway's high school principal, said he and district officials support the walkout - which is scheduled to start outside at the school's football stadium at 10 a.m.

"Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school", reads the description on the Women's March Network website.

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