Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 12
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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PHS Students Protest War in Wednesday Walk-Out

Ellen Gilbert

In response to the Coalition for Peace Action’s call for a moratorium on the war to mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on Wednesday, March 19, Princeton High School students plan to walk out of school during the seventh period.

Organized by the New Jersey Students for Peace, the walkout will be the second that PHS students have staged to protest the war. The first elicited a “relatively good response,” according to the Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of the Coalition for Peace. This time, however, the numbers are expected to be higher. “About 150 students had signed on as of last Wednesday,” Mr. Moore said, noting that there would likely be more by the time of today’s event.

Sophomore Sarita Rosenstock pointed out that the students’ intention is “to create an alternative learning space.” Using discussion groups, she said, “we’ll learn about what’s going on in Iraq.” She noted that “4,000 soldiers have already died that there,” and that “the New Jersey National Guard is being sent this summer.”

Mr. Moore lauded PHS Principal Gary Snyder’s response to the first event, describing it as “not being Draconian,” although students this time may still face detention for walking out of school one hour before classes officially end. The last time, Mr. Moore noted, Mr. Snyder commented on the courteous way in which students conducted themselves.

In registering a “strong protest” against the war, Mr. Moore anticipated an “open mike” event, with N.J. Students for Peace leaders kicking things off, and other speakers following.

Rutgers Against the War recently issued a “solidarity statement” for the Princeton High School walkout, saying that “your walkout is an inspiration to all of the students in New Jersey and across the country who have been struggling for years to bring an end to America’s quest for empire …. You are not alone in your actions, but are part of a bigger movement that is culminating in walkouts, marches, and civil disobedience across the country and the world. Rutgers Against the War is fully committing to supporting our brothers and sisters at Princeton High School in their walkout and in the struggle for human rights, justice, and peace.”

Other area activities marking the moratorium include a regional rally that will take place on the State House Steps, 125 West State Street in Trenton, from noon to 1 p.m. Car-poolers to this event will leave the Princeton Shopping Center (near Rite Aid drugstore) at 11:15 a.m.

The Coalition encourages those supporting the protest to wear black armbands before and during the Moratorium Day. “This will help bring a sense of unity to the moratorium, as well as fostering discussion with people you encounter that day,” suggested the CFPA website.

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