New Jersey

NJ School Tells Students Not to Stage Mass Shooting Walkout

Hundreds of students staged walk-outs across New Jersey to mark one week since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, but at least one school told students they could be suspended if they demonstrated.

East Brunswick principal Michael Vinella told students planning a walkout "we're not looking for a quick soundbite. It’s more about a lasting message to help the cause." It comes on a day where students in Middletown and Stafford peacefully demonstrated for 17 minutes in the wake of the Valentine's Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

At lunchtime, a few East Brunswick students were permitted to be outside, but were warned that they could be suspended if they demonstrated.

“If students are outside the building we run the risk of students or unorganized fashion of somebody getting hurt or injured,” said Victor Valeski, the East Brunswick superintendent."

The announcement didn't sit well with at least one student's relative, who likened it to intimidation.

And the principal's announcement came just a day after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said "God love 'em" when asked if he supported students walking out. 

Despite pushback, students and faculty members said they were working together to figure out an alternative.

“Our students have been outspoken, they have been quite favorable, I want to hear what they have to say,” said Todd Simons, president of the East Brunswick school board.

The planned walkout in East Brunswick came just days after the school board voted to have armed police officers patrol the school. 

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