SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- An estimated 200 students at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School took part in the national Walkout in solidarity with survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL.
The event was scheduled on the one-month anniversary of the massacre in which 17 people were gunned down. Thousands of students across the country walked out of their school buildings to make a statement against gun violence on Wednesday morning.
"First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families and students affected by the Parkland tragedy," said Michael Gross, a senior who participated in the nationwide walkout. "Participating in this event, reminded me that we can make a difference in the world... As a nation, we need to be proactive, and not wait for another tragedy to occur."
A significant amount of police presence from both Fanwood and Scotch Plains was visible at the march to ensure that the walkout was peaceful and to make sure students were safe from anyone who might use the opportunity to cause harm.
"I am very proud of how our students comported themselves today. Their thoughtful sincerity and concern was evident and deeply moving," said SPFK12 Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Hayes. "I appreciate the support we received from our staff, our community, and both the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments."
The walkout took place at the high school at 10:00 a.m. and lasted 17 minutes (one for each of the Parkland victims). Commemorations were held indoors at Park Middle School and Terrill Middle School.