Over five-hundred Union High School students walk out of the building and line up shoulder to shoulder on a football field. Dozens of parents are on the bleachers supporting their kids. Regina Edwards of Union says she gave her daughter a choice to participate.
“But she had to explain to me why she wanted to do it. If she couldn’t come up with a good reason, I was not going to allow her to do it,” Edwards said. “I didn’t want her to do it just to follow the others. She was able to state her case and I allowed her to do it.”
There was tension in Union Township leading up to the protest. The students insisted on a walkout followed by a march and rally at town hall.
“The preferred method would have been for the students to remain here,” said Gregory Tatum, Superintendent of Union Public Schools. “But their voice said they really wanted to move beyond the field because that was their position in terms of what they learned through the democratic process. They did a lot of research on this, so give them the opportunity to exercise their rights.”
Some students returned to the classroom after 17 minutes of silence, but most took to the sidewalk and made their way to Union Town Hall. The demonstration was greeted with support from Township mayor Suzzette Cavadas.
“As a parent, [I] also am concerned about my children’s safety here in the public schools,” Cavadas said. “I do believe that we do have to do more to protect these children on an everyday basis.
Sabrina Prevost is a senior at Union High School, a protest key organizer. She’s proud of what her school accomplished but says the work is far from done.
“All of the students that organized this are seniors. In less than four months, we are all graduating, and we are not going to be in the school anymore, so this is not going to be our concern,” Prevost said. “However, that is not the case. Us as seniors, we have to lead by example and show our underclassmen what is right.”
Sienna Bucu, a senior, has words for those who say students are using the protests as a reason to get out of school.
“I’m doing this for you. You should be safe, your kids should be safe, even if you think that we’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m doing it for you,” Bucu said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about Sabrina, it’s not about Union High School, it’s about the nation and the world that we’re trying to change.”
Union High School students are busy preparing their next move. A March For Our Lives anti-gun-violence rally in conjunction with the national event in Washington D.C.