SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Many South Orange Middle School (SOMS) students participated in the National School Walkout on Wednesday. The walkout began about 10 a.m., and while most SOMS students  returned to school around 10:35 a.m., some students continued to protest, marching and chanting outside the school for several hours, with the final students returning to school by about 1 p.m., according to a school official.

SOMS sixth-grader Ally B. shared by email that she participated in the march because “it’s so upsetting that in our lifetime we need to do lock down drills. My mom did not have to do them!”

Rowan W., a sixth-grader who is a member of the student council and who helped organize the march, wrote by email, “We can end gun violence, we will not be silenced.”

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Colette L., who is sixth-grade president and one of the march organizers, explained by email, "What we did today was nothing to brag about, we didn't do it to get attention, we did it because we want to make a statement, we want change. What has happened to the victims of shootings will not be forgotten. We want change. We want protection. We could have been these children. I hope in the future this won't even be a problem because it shouldn't be a problem. These victims will not have died in vain. We will never forget. And we will never stop standing up for what we believe."

Lucy M. also shared her experience by email, writing "I am a 6th grader at SOMS. I was one of the students that participated in the extra 2 hours in the walkout... We were all cold, thirsty and hungry since we missed lunch and I was bleeding out of my ankle because I had a blister. No matter, we persisted and continued to walk for an extra 2.5 hours, and jeopardized grades for the classes we missed."

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