Note: TAPInto New Brunswick has recently partnered with New Brunswick High School to publish the edited work of students as part of an ongoing journalism education project.
NEW BRUNSWICK - The shooting in Parkland, Florida, on February 14 has left the residents of New Brunswick in a state of shock and anger.
Many high school students interviewed for this story felt anger when listening to media call shooter Nikolas Cruz “mentally ill” or a “victim of bullying.” One student felt that if Cruz was of African American or Middle Eastern descent that he would instead be labeled a “thug” or a “terrorist.”
Our high school students were inspired by the action taken by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. One student, Kiara Gomez, organized for the entire school to wear white and black less than one week after the shooting in order to honor the 17 victims whose lives were taken. Kiara plans to attend a protest in Washington D.C. on March 24 called "March For Our Lives."
Now, nearly a month after the mass shooting, things have started to calm down at New Brunswick High School. But there are still students, like Kiara, who still have the shooting on their minds and feel that other people “seem to have just forgotten."
Students Michelle Villa, Josselyn Nunez, and Alyssa Sanchez are planning a commemorative event with the support of Principal Ken Redler that would allow students to express their anger and desire for change.
In a student-led initiative, some students will be participating in the nationwide protest in support of stricter gun control laws. In addition, a student-inspired walk-out, supported by the administration, is set for March 14, exactly one month after the Parkland shooting, and another is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
Many school officials in New Jersey voted to add armed security guard to schools, such as neighboring East Brunswick. Students in New Brunswick are worried that the same thing will happen here. Students fear the idea that security guards would be armed and hope that nothing like that would get adopted for the New Brunswick Public Schools.
Anibet Taveras is a senior at New Brunswick High School.