Editor's Note: Please note, councilwoman Kristine Morieko's comments were inadvertently left out of the first version. Please see them below.
GLEN ROCK, NJ – Students who participated in the walk-out at the Glen Rock middle and high school had a few more things to say at the Borough Council meeting that evening.
On March 14, at the invitation of Mayor Bruce Packer, middle and high school students told the adults in the room they were “scared” and they felt it was time the adults did something about it.
Eighth-grader Annie Barchetto said the students participated in a “walk-in” because they were not allowed to go outside like the high school students.
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” she said. “I’m very happy with how wonderful it turned out.”
“We were standing up for our beliefs,” Barchetto said. “It’s outrageous we have to do this.”
“School should be a place to learn, not a place to be afraid,” she said.
“Students are in the position to have to be the adults,” she said.
Senior Jean Walter said the high school walkout was organized by the social studies department as part of a civil disobedience lesson.
“It was totally optional,” she said. “We had a good turnout.”
“We’re fortunate to live in a state where we have such strict gun laws,” Walter said. “We wanted to honor those that died and say ‘never again’.”
Another student, Casey Bedwell-Coll said she lives in fear.
“I’m scared I’m going to get shot at school,” she said. “I’m afraid someone is going to walk in with a gun.”
“You stop being a child when you’re worried you’re going to be staring down the barrel of an AR-15,” she said.
Mayor Packer thanked the students who offered their opinions.
“There’s no more important thing you will do as an American than state your opinion,” he said.
“Thank you so much for your courage,” councilwoman Amy Martin said. “Young people have the right to protest. I do hope it continues.”
Councilman Michael O’Hagan said he was “sorry” to hear one student say she was scared.
“I look at you, all of you young people, and I know the future is in good hands,” he said.
“I’m sorry, too,” councilwoman Arati Kreibich said. “I’m so proud of you for standing up, it’s an emotional topic.”
Councilwoman Kristine Morieko made some audience members smile with her comments.
"You did better than some of the adults on a Wednesday night," she said to a ripple of audience laughter. "You are from great families and you're great people. Keep persistent."
Councilman Bill Leonard, a former teacher and now an education administrator, said he applauds the students.
“I’m sorry you’re afraid but I encourage you to speak up, speak your mind,” he said.