Education

East Brunswick: Student Walkout Just a Step

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EBHS students meet on an athletic filed to express their grief and propose change. Credits: Personal photo by permission
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EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Students in East Brunswick participated in the "Walk for Our Lives" event on Wednesday, adding their voices and steps to a national movement against gun violence.  Hundreds of students from East Brunswick High School left the building in an orderly fashion to honor the lives of those students and teachers who were killed in Parkland, Fla last month. Students at Hammarskjold Middle School attended an assembly that featured student speakers who raised their voices in connection with their peers nationwide.

Earlier this week, Dr. Michael Gaskell, HMS Principal, sent out this note to parents:  "This week, our students are participating in activities each day, in a theme we are calling 'Hammarskjold Stands with One Voice.'  I wanted to make you aware that the students have organized a safe and thoughtful 'Peaceful Walk Out' assembly, held in the school auditorium, on Wednesday, March 14."

The plan was overseen by Gaskell and the middle school counseling staff in an effort to create both a positive climate in the school and to connect with national events of concern to the students.  All participation was optional.

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According to one of the student activists at East Brunswick High School,  Dr. Michael Vinella worked with student leaders to create a program that was generated by their concerns.  Again, student participation was optional for all events.

For East Brunswick, though, the walkout and the events of March 14 themselves were just a step in a larger plan to energize activism led by township youth in tandem with a new American movement for political change, especially with regard to gun control.

This past month, East Brunswick students have written letters, created posters, met with elected officials, and held a vigil to express their grief for the lost people in Parkland. On March 24, many will travel to Washington for the national March for Our Lives event.

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