The student walkouts across Pennsylvania and New Jersey to protest gun violence Wednesday drew a variety of reactions from school administrators, ranging from support to warnings of disciplinary consequences.
Some school districts, like Council Rock in Bucks County, said they were worried about student safety outside and tried to hold events indoors. But students walked out anyway.
At Council Rock High School North, more than 400 students left the building to protest. Some parents lauded the children and criticized the district, whose superintendent, Robert Fraser, had warned that students would be disciplined for walking out. (Fraser backed away from that position Wednesday afternoon, saying in a statement that students will not be disciplined).
My daughter participated in the walkout this morning against school district decision. PROUD OF HER! Disappointed in #councilrock
— Jim Stover (@stoverphoto) March 14, 2018
I really wish Council Rock had done a better job supporting the walk out and using this historic event as a teaching, learning, growing experience for the whole community. We let our kids down by minimizing their participation. Not feeling #CRSDPROUD today.
— Katey Howes (@Kateywrites) March 14, 2018
Rumors that staff tried to block doorways with desks and chairs were false, a district spokeswoman said, explaining that tables were set up to take attendance of students as they re-entered the building, not to stop them from walking out.
At William Allen High School in Allentown, administrators said students who left the building would be marked tardy or absent. The school instead held a discussion inside the auditorium on school violence. Similarly, more than 200 students at Pennridge High School in Bucks County who opted to participate in the walkout instead of attend an assembly will be issued detentions.
Students were permitted to start their walk out at 9:55 (start of 4th period) and head to the auditorium to participate. Large groups now being checked in and seated. The bottom level holds roughly 250 @asdallen #ASDCommittedToExcellence #walkout pic.twitter.com/skTFPMyeRe
— Allentown Schools (@AllentownSD) March 14, 2018
In the North Jersey community of Sayreville, administrators had threatened to suspend students who walked out. Only one student walked at the high school.
Sophomore Rosa Rodriquez the only student to walk out of Sayreville HS this morning #nationalwalkout Under threat of suspension several hundred others allowed to attend gathering in school auditorium #1010wins pic.twitter.com/cgnom5e2sZ
— glenn schuck (@glennschuck) March 14, 2018
In Toms River, students at Donovan Catholic High School attended a prayer service instead of a walkout.
— Erik Larsen (@Erik_Larsen) March 14, 2018
In Philadelphia, students were allowed to walk out, and some administrators voiced support for the students.
— Philadelphia Schools (@PHLschools) March 14, 2018
At Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia, administrator Ryan Kimmet said he was “incredibly proud” to stand with students.
Today at 10:00 am, our 8th grade students led the Middle School in a walkout to support and lift the voices of victims of gun violence everywhere. I was incredibly proud to stand with them. #QuakerEd #NationalWalkoutDay #GSFS pic.twitter.com/6bFIHDjRHk
— Ryan Kimmet (@rkimmet) March 14, 2018
In the Upper Merion School District, college counselor Erik Enters also commended students.
#ParklandStrong #Enough @UpperMerionSD So proud of our student leaders and students from the HS & MS. Agree or Disagree with their walkout today – your choice. But don't question their commitment to making UM a safer and more accepting school district. pic.twitter.com/nUp0M18sdZ
— Erik Enters (@UMCollegeCouns) March 14, 2018
At Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli, administrators allowed some students to walk through town carrying signs.
Today the DVFSchool student-initiated #walkout was supported by faculty and staff. After 17 minutes of silence around our Peace Pole, those who chose to share a more public message walked through Paoli with signs expressing solidarity with #marjorystonemandouglas students and the movement they have begun. @marjorystonemanhigh #IWillMarch #marchforourlives #peace #peacepole #studentactivism #nationalwalkout #enough #endgunviolence
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