Sayreville teen stands alone against gun violence

Sayreville sophomore Rosa Rodriguez walked out of War Memorial High School at 10 a.m. to protest gun violence one month after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Sayreville War Memorial High School sophomore Rosa Rodriguez was the only student to make it out the doors, in solidarity with students across the country who walked out of schools at 10 a.m. to protest gun control.

The nationwide demonstrations took place one month after a former student opened fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

The Valentine’s Day school shooting killed 17 people and injured dozens more,

Tamara Gitt, a Fox News producer, said the girl “she doesn’t care if she’s suspended…this issue is too important.”

“In Sayreville, NJ the school is threatening suspension for kids who participate in the #walkout. I spoke to #Sayreville High School students yesterday…many said they won’t walk out in fear of punishment,” said Gitt on Twitter.

Video footage shared by CBS News reporter Glenn Schuck on Twitter, shows Rodriguez standing outside on the school, where administrators reportedly threatened to suspend any student who walked out.

Rodriguez said the consequences do not matter because gun violence is an issue that can no longer be overlooked.

Schuck said although Rodriguez was the only Sayreville who walked out, it was not because her classmates are less socially aware.

According to another Twitter user, officials stopped other students from heading outside and instead herded them into an auditorium to sign a document agreeing not to participate in civil disobedience.

Sierra Thomas, a 16-year-old Sayreville freshman, said there were about a dozen students who walked out of a rear door of the school at 10 a.m.

She and about a dozen others walked out under threat of suspension while several hundred other students took the district’s directive to attend a gathering in school auditorium.

“I walked out with two of my other friends,” she said, “and we met up with about 10 more people.”

Thomas said the principal brought the students back inside from the football field after they stood there for 17 minutes. Those students were informed that they would receive two days of out-of-school suspension for walking out.

Stephanie Peters said that according to the school’s code of conduct, insubordination is supposed to be punished only with two days of detention, and for skipping class students would receive a Saturday detention.

“So obviously they’re going above and beyond what the actual code of conduct is,” said Peters, who defended her right to protest and voice concerns. She said that Wednesday morning’s walkout could have served as a “teaching moment” for the students. “I think it’s important that the story is told and that the light is shone on Sayreville and what they are doing, and that they’re silencing students.”


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