It does not seem that the Hicksville Public School District is very supportive of the nation-wide walk out that took place on March 14th. For example, there was an event that went on in Hicksville Middle School.
Because of the tragic events that ocurred in Parkland, Florida, on March 14th, students across the country walked walked out of their schools at 10 am and spent 17 minutes memorializing the lives lost in Parkland.
Here on Long Island, this included students at Hicksville Middle School, who walked in protest of what is considered a nation-wide epidemic. The students had seemingly good intentions; they were however prevented from going outside by their assistant principals. It was said that both assistant principals Barbara Morzik and Todd Wallace were pulling them by their clothes.
Superintendent Carl Bonuso stated,“To [walkout] would not only interrupt the educational program but also miss an opportunity to engage students in lessons about what it means to unify as a school family and effectively communicate our opinions and ideas”.
The proof is in social media videos that students posted. The students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by 17 minutes of silence for each of the 17 victims, and then went back to class. Also captured on video was the assistant principal physically preventing some students from going outside. The 47 students that did walk out and protested are receiving punishments as the school administrator said that they broke school rules. The assistant principal didn’t believe it was right for the students to walk out of their classes.
Sherly Castaneda, a parent in the school district claimed, “My husband received a phone call from the assistant principal, stating that the number of children who did walk out would have to have some kind of consequences because they broke the school rules for walking out.”
According to Gabrielle Drapeylo, a student at the school,“He was pulling all the kids by their shirts and their hoodies and also there was people by the stairwell, like the teachers and the monitors blocking the stairways and blocking all the doors”. Student Anaya Raymond said, “One of the assistant principals stopped me and he said that if I went outside I would get suspended.”
A student named Keylla Torres said, “I have lunch detention on Friday, but she said to me that she’s being generous by not giving me anything more.”
The students had good intentions, as stated by student Julie Castaneda who said, “We wanted to honor their lives because their lives matter- they deserve it.” Castaneda also said, “They said that I was going to be suspended which later changed to in- school suspension and now it’s a detention which is outrageous because I’m here protesting because this is something I believe in.”
John Rodriguez, another parent, thought it was unfair that these students are being punished. He says, “Exercise her right to be heard, exercise her right to protest. She did so and to punish her seems to be teaching a bad lesson.”
On Wednesday night, a public spokesperson said that no students will be facing any sort of consequence for their actions and it was decided that the students who participated will instead be invited to a special lunch to have an open dialogue about social activism.