NJ Politics Digest: Students, Schools Prepare for Gun Protest Walk Outs

Alexa Mesch (L) and Heather Mesch place flowers in a makeshift memorial setup in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in memory of the 17 people that were killed in Parkland, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Students and school districts throughout the state are preparing for a planned walkout at 10 this morning to mark the one-month anniversary of the Florida school shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students.

The 17-minute memorial is supposed to take place at 10 a.m. and is intended to pressure elected officials to take tougher stances on gun policies. Some schools are supporting the walkout idea, but others have not expressed any stance on the planned protest. The Sayreville school district made headlines when it threatened to suspend students who participate.

The walkout is a national event being coordinated by the group Empower, a youth division of the Women’s March.

The Asbury Park Press reports that the New Jersey School Boards Association, expecting a large number of students to participate in the event, has issued advice for how to handle the walkouts.
Some schools, including districts in Barnegat, Lakewood and Wall, are arranging for indoor events because of safety concerns about the students going outside. Other schools are scheduling the protests for areas away from public access.

Those fears could be warranted, the paper said, noting that several school districts have been the target of threats since the shootings in Parkland, Florida. A Lakewood man was arrested last week after threatening to open fire at a march calling for stricter gun laws.

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