Education

Livingston Students Make Their Voices Heard in National Walkout

5e3d1654476f142a3067_IMG_0420.JPG
LHS Students peacefully protest during National Student Walkout Credits: Danielle Santola
0daa2cd151d4f9bc4c56_IMG_0406.JPG
Organizers and LHS seniors Sasha Weber, Richard Kim and Rachel Mintz Credits: Danielle Santola
51301e229d7024c08ef6_IMG_0410.JPG
Ben Asher and Richard Kim prepare to lead LHS Student Walkout Credits: Danielle Santola
ae3a07f08146aaee9162_IMG_0427.JPG
LHS Notations perform "Make Them Hear You" from the hit musical "Ragtime" Credits: Danielle Santola
f64caf27265ab07557b0_IMG_0418.JPG
LHS Students peacefully protest during National Student Walkout Credits: Danielle Santola
8cc37a24690986c28bb7_IMG_0413.JPG
LHS Students peacefully protest during National Student Walkout Credits: Danielle Santola
c3c91c9bd88bb73a0ad0_IMG_0429.JPG
LHS Notations perform "Make Them Hear You" from the hit musical "Ragtime" Credits: Danielle Santola
c80e3f0df9fecc910918_IMG_0432.JPG
Ben Asher recites “America’s Finest Crop” by an unknown author Credits: Danielle Santola
cc4fe0dc9b019130ca7d_IMG_0444.JPG
Councilmen Rudy Fernandez, Shawn Klein, Al Anthony and Mayor Ed Meinhardt come out to support LHS student walkout Credits: Danielle Santola
7904617ed9e6b0574060_IMG_0415.JPG
7248be78d3e9ed64a920_IMG_0421.JPG
4304a8b143c4df1f005f_IMG_0424.JPG
fd5282b138fff61bf04c_IMG_0433.JPG
1eb37b072c9382cf6b44_IMG_0434.JPG
c951a0b887d9a369e561_IMG_0437.JPG
5e3d1654476f142a3067_IMG_0420.JPG

LIVINGSTON, NJ — In order to make their voices heard and prove that “age is no obstacle to activism,” hundreds of Livingston High School (LHS) students participated in the student-led National School Walkout on Wednesday morning. For 17 minutes, the students gathered on the blacktop near the turf to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting and to also take a stance on gun control, violence and awareness.

Organizers and LHS seniors Sasha Weber, Richard Kim and Rachel Mintz have worked closely with the Livingston Public Schools administration, the Livingston Township Council, the Livingston Police Department and a larger group of students since winter break to put the event together. They extended their thanks to the entire administrative staff and the council for supporting this endeavor, as well as the police department for blocking off the Oval, having an ambulance on standby and surrounding the school with officers to ensure student safety during the protest.

As their peers flooded out of the building, the organizers emphasized the power they have to shape the world they want to live in, and their ability to make a difference “at a time in history where [their] voices are so important to creating change.”

Sign Up for E-News

“One thing that we really tried to stress is that we’ll support whatever you’re walking out for,” said Weber. “You may decide just to walk out for the Parkland victims, you may be walking out for gun control or gun violence, and we want people to know that you can walk out for whatever you choose to and we will support you. You can exercise your right to peacefully protest, or you can respect your right to just stay in school—either way, you’ll face no consequences and we just want for students to be able to share their voices and take a stand in whatever way is meaningful for them.”

Superintendent of Schools Christina Steffner said the district decided very early that this endeavor was something that it needed to support. She said that the district recognizes that regardless of where people stand on this issue, the importance of keeping the students and teachers safe when they’re in school is paramount.

“The student-led demonstration/walkout was well-thought-out and I’m so proud of the kids,” said Steffner. “They did an amazing job really trying to make meaning, but more than that, I think they’re trying to really make sure that this is not a one-shot deal. So they’re talking about letter-writing and registering to vote—all of those kinds of things that will truly make a difference if we’re able to change what’s going on.”

Steffner added that she “couldn’t be more proud” of not only the students, but also the administrative team for working with the students, helping them to process it and allowing them to “be the leaders of this and take ownership of it.”

“You have to respect [the students’] civil activism and their engagement in it,” said LHS Principal Mark Stern, who applauded the students’ collaboration and cooperation. “This is something that, if it’s a movement and if there’s opportunity for education in this, we have to make sure that we’re doing some follow-through debriefing, some conversation on what activism is and what it means to be an advocate and be involved in something like this. We feel a responsibility to the kids to make sure that we’re having follow-up conversations and then if the students want to continually, productively create change, we’re going to support them in that.”

Following the event, Stern said that all students were all invited to join in a debriefing in the LHS cafeteria during their lunch period.

He added that the event would not have been possible without the support of not only the board of education, which agreed that participating students would not be penalized with a cut or absence from class, but also the police officers and council members who involved themselves in the student-led conversation.

“This was a very emotionally well-run, organized event and I’m so happy that the council and I were here to watch,” said Mayor Ed Meinhardt. “I applaud all of the high school students who were involved with organizing it and I also applaud all of the students who took part in remembering the 17 lives that were taken during the tragic event. This was certainly a sad time in the United States history and we need to do all that we can to prevent these shootings from ever happening again.”

During the event, the LHS a cappella group Notations performed a song from the musical “Ragtime,” which tells a story about the fight for racial equality and the rights that every American deserves. The lyrics of the song, entitled “Make Them Hear You,” demand that all voices be heard in the effort to create change toward a better country.

“Proclaim it from your pulpit, in your classroom with your pen, teach every child to raise his voice and then, my brothers, then will justice be demanded by ten-million righteous men,” the song proclaims. “Make them hear you.”

LHS students Ben Asher and Mary Yang then recited the poems “America’s Finest Crop” and “You, If No One Else” before the crowd became silent to remember the 17 Parkland victims, whose names were read aloud.

Many participating students held signs that read “thoughts and prayers don’t save lives,” “enough is enough,” “stop the violence” and more as they led chants of “Go Away NRA,” “Guns Aren’t Fun” and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Gun Violence has Got to Go” until it was time to head back to class.

Sign up to get all the news as it happens HERE or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at @LivingstonTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

May 18, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Save Up To 20% at CNP Treasures

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your mom or that special someone in your life for Mother's Day? Then CNP Treasures has you covered! Save up to 20% at CNP Treasures located at 14 Northfield Ave in West Orange.

Come by this weekend so we can help you find the perfect gift! Offer expires Sunday, May ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, May 21, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: VICTORIA AND ABDUL

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_858d52d71559e8db11c1_35608_125981954105061_273496_n-1

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Heritage Middle School , Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: 6th to 7th ...

Education

Carousel_image_27a1c651521c971f9a4d_1cdb218c0a6934197fac_b2a4cff22151f502f44b2552724bef71_xl

Thu, May 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Understanding Hearing Loss

Health & Wellness

Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Still Time to Register for Livingston's Fall Intown Soccer

May 14, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although a late fee may be applied as of May 13, registration is still open for the Fall 2018 Intown Soccer season in Livingston, including the high school co-ed program.

Livingston Soccer Club's (LSC) Intown program is all about sportsmanship, making friends, getting some exercise and learning a bit about soccer along the way. LSC provides the following ...

Funnel Cloud Appears over South Plainfield

May 16, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - A line of heavy thunderstorms roared through South Plainfield on Tuesday evening with a resident capturing a funnel cloud twisting down west and north of Spring Lake Park. The photo captures the funnel cloud, which can be seen in the left-hand side of the photo above.

The photo also captures a school bus driving by, and the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire ...

Please Sponsor Livingston's 82nd Annual Fourth of July Celebration!

May 7, 2018

Dear Livingston Friends:

Fourth of July always brings plenty of family activities for our entire town: the auto show, rides, swim contests, children’s entertainment, food provided by Dinosaur BBQ and others, Beer & Wine Café with live music, Main Stage show featuring Livingston’s own Epic Soul, and our Township’s always fabulous fireworks spectacular.

As a ...

Avenging Movie Credits

Warning! Nothing you read here will spoil Avengers: Infinity Wars because I didn’t understand it.

As a vibrant, relevant, totally hip and “with it” dad I am proud to say that I have now seen every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  All nineteen of them.

I am less proud to admit that, of those Marvel movies that I can remember, I didn’t understand any of ...