CHS students walk out in protest, support


Blot photo by Marissa Ho.

Katherine Lombardi

In solidarity against gun violence and to honor the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy in Parkland, FL., CHS students walked out during the school day on March 14. The event was part of the Nationwide School Walkout, a movement that high schools across America participated in.

In accordance with the National School Walkout, CHS students gathered in the parking lot at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, each minute symbolizing a life lost in the Parkland shooting. Volunteers read names and short biographies of each victim.

Another portion of the student body partook in an indoor rally with a ceremony that mirrored the one inside. Students that did not wish to participate reported to Room 107 for the 17 minutes.

Homeroom teachers distributed orange ribbons so that students in every location could show support for the movement.

SGA President and senior Jackie Geller of Manalapan said planning began in advance and included the input of both student leaders and faculty advisers. Principal James Gleason requested a meeting of class council members, the editors-in-chief of The Inkblot and NHS council members and their advisers to discuss CHS’ role in the movement.

“We heard varying opinions from students and teachers,” Geller said. “As an entire team, we cultivated a plan that allowed CHS students to feel comfortable and safe during the walkout time.”

While the planning heavily involved students, CHS administration took part as well.

“Once I heard a national walkout was being scheduled, I wanted to get together because I think it’s about the students,” Gleason said. “We met to decide how we would work with the student body.”

Wall Township police were present at the walkout to ensure the safety and security of the school.

“[I wanted to make sure] that we have a safe event and that we’re all on the same page,” Gleason said. “I think ultimately that’s what you saw yesterday.”

CHS will continue its work against school gun violence following the walkout. Student leaders plan to initiate a total of 17 steps or events students can do or take part in to maintain a safe and welcoming school environment. The first of the 17 was the walkout. These projects will include educating students on gun laws in New Jersey, how to register to vote and other ways to take action for change.  

Sophomore Sidney Washington of Asbury Park was pleased with how the walkout was run.

“I like how the school helped us plan this,” Washington said. “Because it shows how they care about us and what we do.”

Approximately two thirds of the school walked out, Geller said. She was satisfied with the walkout and its active participation.

“Being part of the walkout has been such an honor and a privilege,” Geller said. “[It] made me realize how lucky I am to attend a school where so many people have the courage to ask for their message to be heard.”