Newark, N.J. — Students across New Jersey took part in Wednesday's nationwide walkout to demand action against gun violence, though some school districts did threaten to suspend kids for participating.
In Newark, district officials not only supported the students' demonstration but participated in walk outs with students across the city. At exactly 10 a.m., hundreds of students and staff stood silently outside of Arts High School for 17 minutes to mourn all lives lost to gun violence.
"I think it says that no matter what, it doesn’t it matter if were in Newark or Florida, we can all stand together and help stop the violence thats going on,” senior Marvin Worley said.
Seventeen balloons were released for the 17 school students and staff killed in Parkland, Florida.
Inside Newark classrooms, there were tears. Many teens from this city have witnessed shootings first hand or know somebody who has been killed by gunfire. Senior Tyra Smith almost lost her life when a stray bullet came whizzing through her living room window.
“It's scary,” she said. "I don’t want to die at a young age."
In South Plainfield, N.J. students said they were told a walk out would mean suspension.
"They’re trying to deter us from speaking up, it's ridiculous,” one student said.
Dozens of students demonstrated outside of school in South Plainfield anyway.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy did not attend a walk out, but he told PIX11 that he supports students.
"I’m incredibly proud. Our generation has failed,” he said. "They’re going to prove we can make a difference. And we’re gonna do that here in New Jersey."
Meanwhile a school district in Gloucester County was forced to close on national walk out day because they got an anonymous threat. Police are investigating.
Clearview Regional Schools Superintendent John Horchak III said:
“…[canines] checked every hall locker in the district. We do believe our buildings are safe and expect to be OPEN tomorrow…there will be a substantial police presence…”
Hackensack Schools were also forced to cancel their student walk out due to a potential threat. Schools were open, but students demonstrated inside the classroom instead of going outside.