MONTCLAIR, NJ - All across the country, there were 17-minute protests, where students exited their classes at 10 a.m. in honor of the children recently shot in a Florida School. This was also in an effort to bring awareness about gun violence, and perhaps put some pressure on Congress to approve gun control legislation.
A recent school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a month ago took 17 lives.
Hundreds of Montclair High School students stood outside in the amphitheater. Several students spoke to a crowd of their schoolmates, while around the perimeter of the school, secured by teachers, and police officials, many adults lent their support.
Although some of the adults were parents, others were residents without school-age children. Elizabeth Keller, an adult standing in front of Montclair High School, held a sign that said: “Make it Stop”. She told TapInto she was there to support the students. “They need to change the world, we tried but are not doing such a good job. Now it’s up to them.”
Councilwoman Renee Baskerville stood at the High School, as well. She told Tapinto, “I am so proud of our young people, you don’t know. I am excited to be here and witness this thoughtful expression of public safety.”
Over at Hillside Elementary School, only a handful of children protested. Sammy Eckstut, the aunt of one the students said, “It’s people with guns that kill people. America does not have a monopoly on mental illness.” She went on to say that she believes these mass shootings take place more in the United States because “People are afraid to get things under control.”
Meanwhile, the elementary students who protested, carried signs that said things like, “You call this well regulated?” and “Guns don’t keep children safe, people keep children safe.”
Greta Read went to her daughter’s elementary school to chaperone her child and a few others whose parents were unable to attend. She said, “I came out today because my daughter needed me to chaperone her for the walk-out. She is a very well informed 11-year-old, and she asks tough questions.” Read said her daughter saw Emma Gonzalez [a survivor of the Florida shooting] speak, after the Parkland massacre and told her mother, “C’mon, we’re marching, let’s make our signs now.”
Vehicles passing Hillside School acknowledged the children who stood on the lawn, by honking or giving them a thumbs up.
Ari Laura Kreith stated in a message that she had hoped to see a bigger crowd outside in support, but later she added that when she stopped at a local coffee shop and spoke to some people, she realized most had no idea of what was going on. “Hopefully they have heard by now, but it makes me think how we as adult allies can draw attention, especially from people who don’t have kids.”
Phil Lenkowski, currently living in Poland, messaged local parent David Henry Sterry during the protest, saying that he had seen Montclair High School had one of the biggest demonstrations in America.
Children at Hillside chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, guns at school have got to go” and amusingly, “Tiny hands, tiny feet all he does is tweet tweet tweet.”