The student walkouts across Pennsylvania and New Jersey to protest gun violence Wednesday drew a variety of reactions from school administrators, ranging from support to warnings of disciplinary consequences.
Some school districts, like Council Rock in Bucks County, said they were worried about student safety outside and tried to hold events indoors. But students walked out anyway.
At Council Rock High School North, more than 400 students left the building to protest. Some parents lauded the children and criticized the district, whose superintendent, Robert Fraser, had warned that students would be disciplined for walking out. (Fraser backed away from that position Wednesday afternoon, saying in a statement that students will not be disciplined).
Rumors that staff tried to block doorways with desks and chairs were false, a district spokeswoman said, explaining that tables were set up to take attendance of students as they re-entered the building, not to stop them from walking out.
At William Allen High School in Allentown, administrators said students who left the building would be marked tardy or absent. The school instead held a discussion inside the auditorium on school violence. Similarly, more than 200 students at Pennridge High School in Bucks County who opted to participate in the walkout instead of attend an assembly will be issued detentions.
In the North Jersey community of Sayreville, administrators had threatened to suspend students who walked out. Only one student walked at the high school.
In Toms River, students at Donovan Catholic High School attended a prayer service instead of a walkout.
In Philadelphia, students were allowed to walk out, and some administrators voiced support for the students.
At Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia, administrator Ryan Kimmet said he was "incredibly proud" to stand with students.
In the Upper Merion School District, college counselor Erik Enters also commended students.
At Delaware Valley Friends School in Paoli, administrators allowed some students to walk through town carrying signs.