Sayreville High School Students are Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence at B.O.E. Meeting

Rose Tomaszewski, Staff Writer

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On Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, the Sayreville Board of Education meeting was all about letting the children lead. There was an impressive group of fifth graders from the Samsel Upper Elementary School who took charge of each board member’s position and ran the meeting. The same leadership skills had also been seen by a group of high school students who proposed their ideas as an alternative to the controversial walkout that occurred on March 14, 2018, which gained the attention of the news nationwide.

The fifth-grade students had been chosen to fulfill these roles for the night by the impressive characteristics that they had shown already at such a young age. Although they were told what to say and read when it came to more serious topics, they were still given opportunities to give their own input when it came to issues regarding what they thought could be done to make their schools safer, in which they all made remarks regarding a need for more security.

This same issue of school safety had been taken much more seriously by the Sayreville high school students. During the portion of the meeting that is dedicated to comments or questions of the public, they gave a presentation of what they had proposed to the school and what they hoped for progress in the future. This included voter registration during lunch periods for seniors and those of the registration age, which had successfully been taken care of by administration within days of the request. There had also been the request of a moment of silence in honor and memory of the seventeen lives that had been lost during the Parkland, Florida school shooting, as well as all of the other lives that had been lost due to gun violence. This had been compromised on as the students were still given opportunities to walk out for this moment, with less severe consequences than the threatened two-day suspension.

Some of the other and more impressive proposals the students had thought of were much more intricate and detailed. For example, one of them had been an idea in which there would be a “Never Again”, the motto of this student-led movement, banner that would be signed by the student body during their lunch periods to be hung within the school. This banner would go along with a fundraiser that would encourage each student to donate at least seventeen cents which would then be donated to the families that were affected by the Parkland shooting. One of the other proposals was a question and answer session or assembly, depending on when it would be allowed to be held, in which students, those most directly affected by the school’s safety regulations, would be able to ask questions regarding this. The students proposing this kindly requested that members of the board and superintendent would attend and work alongside the student body.

Clearly, this Board of Education meeting had been taken over by the students, who showed that they cannot be silenced, whether they are in fifth grade or on their way to graduating within a few years. This goal that students have been taught since elementary school of voicing their opinions on issues and their beliefs was seen throughout the entire night and the concerns that had recently arose over that mindset had been seen when senior, Jordan Ndeli, said “We hope that together we can help students express their voices, beliefs, and concerns in a safe environment that supports their growth as individuals.”

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Sayreville High School Students are Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence at B.O.E. Meeting