If students at one New Jersey school district thought their pro-gun control activism would earn them extra credit, they were sorely mistaken.
Sayreville School District warned students they would face discipline–up to and including suspension–if they broke school rules and participated in Wednesday’s Walkout Day, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
Sayreville Board of Education President Kevin Ciak said the district’s schools would “follow our student code of conduct in terms of discipline associated with whatever action occurs.”
Ciak explained that the policy was meant to keep students safe.
“It’s a highly publicized event,” he said of the nationwide school walkouts, which called on lawmakers to pass tougher gun laws in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“It’s a highly publicized date and time and anyone who wants to inflict harm knows across the country when these students will be walking out. From a students’ protection standpoint, that’s also why we are taking the action we are and following our student code of conduct.”
Only a handful of students ultimately walked out.
Sierra Thomas, a freshman, said there were roughly a dozen students outside Sayreville War Memorial High School.
Rosa Rodriguez, a 15-year-old fellow student, told News 12, “I don’t care if I get suspended.”
The school held a 17-minute meeting in its auditorium instead of allowing students to leave campus, but Rodriguez walked out anyway.
“I said I want to go outside; still show I care and everything like that,” she said.
Rodriguez told 1010 WINS she was disappointed more of her classmates didn’t join her.
“If you were gonna come outside in the first place, you should have still came outside. Just because you didn’t want to have these consequences and stuff, just stay inside, you should have came outside and proven them wrong.”
“Some participated within the building, some left the building but remained on school property and a handful — two or three — actually left school property,” Ciak said of Walkout Day. “We’ll be following our student code of conduct for those categories.”
According to Sierra, she and the other students who walked outside the school were told they would receive a two-day suspension.
Sayreville Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe told MyCentralJersey.com that parents who wanted their children to participate in the walkout could sign them out at the front office during that time.
“We are in support of and have always encouraged our students to express themselves and exercise their freedom of speech, so long as it does not cause a major disruption to the school environment and does not put them in danger,” he said.