CRANFORD, NJ – Students from Cranford High School participated in a school walk out on Wednesday to honor the 17 victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.
Students who had parental permission were permitted to leave their classrooms for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim in the Parkland shooting, before returning to school. The walkout was held in accordance with National School Walkout Day, which encouraged school walk outs in supports of gun control-related legislation.
During the event, several students spoke briefly and read the names of the 17 victims, followed by a drum beat after each name.
“It was amazing to see my classmates united together for something we believe in,” Rosalind Margulies, a junior at Cranford High School, said. “It’s a wake-up call because Parkland was a school just like ours. It could happen here. It could happen anywhere.”
Margulies also touched upon the political influence of today’s youth.
“Gun control is necessary and effective,” Margulies said. “There shouldn’t be any more children who don’t get the chance to come home. Politicians can try to ignore us, but soon we’ll be able to vote, and I can say with confidence that how they respond to the students of America during this time of crisis will determine if they’ll hold office a few years from now,”
As the students gathered, Cranford Police and the school’s staff and administration surrounded the school grounds to ensure student’s safety. The staff and administration wore t-shirts that read “We support our students.”
“The staff, teachers and police made sure the kids were safe and able to express themselves,” Julie Horne, a local parent who watched from across the street, said. “I felt very proud of [my daughter] and all of the students and grateful that the school community supported them so well.”
At Orange Avenue School and Hillside Avenue School, the students participated in a “walk in,” where the students left their classroom to engage in activities that promote unity and kindness, according to letters to parents from the school’s principals.
At St. Michael’s School, the students viewed a brief video from their Cardinal encouraging all students to pray for a safe school environment. The students then encircled the outside of the school for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims. Later, students in grades four through eight attended a prayer service for victims of violence in schools and gun violence, according to a letter to parents from the school’s principal.
Next month, municipalities across the state will hold “March for Our Lives” events, which memorialize the 17 students killed in Parkland and call for stricter gun laws. There will be local marches in Westfield, Union and Newark.