MILLBURN, N.J. — While most of the students and faculty walked out of Millburn High School at 10 o’clock on Wednesday morning to memorialize the 17 slain in the Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida last month, a portion of the student body elected not to participate in the National Student Walkout event.
Roughly 200 students from all grades sat in the otherwise unoccupied auditorium under faculty supervision for the duration of the protest. Contrary to rumors, not all these students choose to spend the extra time allotted to them to do their homework or to sit in the heated auditorium rather then stand in the bitter March cold. In reality, a portion of these students made the conscious decision to stay inside for political reasons.
The students who demonstrated outside walked behind the national #ENOUGH campaign, which calls for political reform on gun laws. Students and faculty were sporting T-shirts that read “Enough is Enough,” which they purchased from the guidance office. Their signs displayed various anti-gun slogans. Some students, like senior Mike Mirsky, simply disagree with the popular notion that the way it stands, school is unsafe.
“I do feel safe in the high school,” Mirsky said. “We have security guards that I think are very capable of handling a situation if one occurs.”
With a firm trust in the security system of today, the senior believes there is nearly no room for improvement in the preventative measures the district takes. Instead, he wants the masses to redirect their attention towards what he thinks is the more pressing issue: proper enforcement of the policies already in place.
“The FBI received countless complaints about the shooter well before the [Parkland] massacre took place, and they didn't take any steps to stop it,” Mirsky said.
Mirsky and other like-minded students who chose not to walk out on March 14 believe the national debate is much deeper then “should we or should we not have guns?”. There are other factors that must be taken into account.
Mirsky disagrees with the MHS status quo on another level as well. With November’s armed carjacking forever ingrained in his memory, Mirsky sees guns as an absolute necessary tool of defense. This conservative perspective opposes the conviction that all one needs in defense of a shooter is compassion. Mirsky feels misunderstood in his position.
“People assume that just because I support guns that I support gun violence but that couldn't be further from the truth,” Mirsky said. “I had a lot of kids tell me that I was disrespecting the kids who died in the shooting and one kid even said that by not going I was supporting school shootings.”