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Colonia High joins the #NeverAgain movement

The First Student Led Action Committee Coordinates a March 14th Walkout in Solidarity With School Shooting Victims

In+preparation+for+the+demonstration+on+Wednesday%2C+the+Colonia+High+Student+Led+Action+Committee+makes+posters+after+school.
In preparation for the demonstration on Wednesday, the Colonia High Student Led Action Committee makes posters after school.

In preparation for the demonstration on Wednesday, the Colonia High Student Led Action Committee makes posters after school.

Photo Credit: Bryan Barros

Photo Credit: Bryan Barros

In preparation for the demonstration on Wednesday, the Colonia High Student Led Action Committee makes posters after school.

By: Bryan Barros, Spring Reporter

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Colonia’s Student Led Action Committee is seeking change; students are gathering to produce an organized demonstration on March 14–National School Walkout Day. Their message: solidarity with the #NeverAgain movement and awareness for school safety.

In the wake of the horrific events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students across the country have joined the #NeverAgain movement, advocating gun control and safer schools. Colonia High School and Woodbridge Township School District is making history–as the first Student Led Action Committee urges safety legislation for schools. The group, roughly 280 politically active Patriots, has been focusing on the upcoming March 14 walkout.

Student Led Action Committee meets to coordinate March 14 event.

Though exact plans for the event remain undisclosed, their message couldn’t be clearer. “Simply, we are looking to demonstrate and show unity for victims of school violence. We want to raise awareness to encourage our nation to prioritize safety in schools,” declares Daniel Hutchinson, an English teacher at Colonia High School overlooking the club’s plans.

Rather than gun control, students are concentrating on the levels of safety in schools like Colonia High. In hopes of grabbing the attention of local government, the Student Led Action Committee will be explicitly advocating for security in institutions nationwide.

The club is also an opportunity for students to express their interest in activism and eagerness to participate in democracy. Kenneth D. Pace, Sr., Colonia High School’s Principal, said this is why he is allowing students such freedom. This is a[n institution] of education. We have four short years to prepare our kids for the next forty years of their lives. You guys are the next level of leaders; not only in New Jersey but in our country. We want to make sure we can assist them whatever way we can to have them start becoming active participants in change. So I think this is a really important part of an educational process.”

Is Colonia High School Safe?

On the question of safety within Colonia High School, Pace is positive the building is secure. “I’m very confident within the confines of what we can possibly do to keep our students safe. I think we’ve been diligent for years. I think we’ve been ahead of the curve of other schools for years. We will never sit on our laurels. We will never stop thinking of new ways to make sure this school stays safe.” Pace continued, “It’s a different story when you’re talking about three main office administrators and five department heads and 120 staff members all assisting in making the school safe. When you throw 1,350 kids in, our school is a thousand times safer when we’re all working together for a common goal.”

Colonia High Principal Kenneth D. Pace, Sr., and Woodbridge Township Board of Education Member Ezio Tamburello attend Student Led Action Committee Meeting in support of students’ plans.

On the other hand, students like Cassandra Medina feel differently about the current level of security at Colonia High School. “I feel like more can be done. Look at other schools in other districts in New Jersey: they have metal detectors and actual security guards. I know Colonia has a reputation for being safe. But, is it worth risking the safety and, in the end, the lives of students and teachers?”

Since the Florida school shooting, Edison Township, a large neighboring school district to Woodbridge Township, is paying $40 per hour for armed police officers to patrol its 19 schools according to CentralJersey.com. As of yet, this improvement has not been discussed for Woodbridge Township’s 24 schools.  Woodbridge Township currently has police officers for a few hours per day.

The Walk Out

Therefore, if you are interested in participating in Wednesday’s demonstration, please join Adviser Mr. Long’s Google Classroom by using the code: zkh6kvh. All information regarding the demonstration can be found there. It is suggested that those participating wear orange or black.

 

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About the Contributor
Bryan Barros, Spring Reporter

Bryan Barros is a sixteen year old junior at Colonia High School. He was born and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In 2017, he transferred into Colonia High School his sophomore year. Bryan is the oldest of three siblings and hopes to be the first in his family to attend college. He is proudly of Brazilian and São Toméan decent, and he enjoys participating in and representing his parents’ cultures. He enjoys watching movies, hanging out with friends, listening to all kinds of music, and using social media. His interests include art, politics, pop culture, and fashion. Bryan loves all kinds of writing, and hopes journalism will give him the opportunity to write more. He takes classes like AP Lang, AP US History, and AP Psychology. Also, among his favorite subjects are English and French. In addition, he hopes to attend law school and possibly pursue a career in journalism, education or psychology.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Colonia High joins the #NeverAgain movement”

  1. Rebecca Melton on March 15th, 2018 7:56 am

    Glad to see students speaking their mind without fear. Go Colonia!

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