Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 13
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
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Weather Forecast

PHS Students Stage Walkout to Mark 5th Anniversary of War

Ellen Gilbert

Chilly, damp weather did not dissuade over 100 Princeton High School students from walking out of their seventh-period classes last Wednesday in a protest marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.

Nor were they deterred by a letter from PHS Principal Gary Snyder circulated earlier that day to students’ parents, noting that “students who might choose to walk out of a class will be assigned a detention.”

Armed with hand-outs (“Fact Sheet: War in Iraq,” “Military Industrial Complex: Facts for your consideration,” “Military Recruitment: Ponder the Following,” and an “Opt Out” form requesting that a student’s name, address, and telephone number not be released to military recruiters), along with a shared script, six student organizers spoke to the group assembled at the front of the school about the war’s civilian and military casualties, and its unfounded premises. Other students followed, speaking and signing a banner listing the names of the soldiers who have died in Iraq since the beginning of the war. Some of the students wore black armbands supplied by the Coalition for Peace Action.

Organizers Arantzazu Galdos, Aislim Bauer, Clare Joyce, and Russell Cavallaro expressed some displeasure with Mr. Snyder’s letter, saying it was antithetical to the conciliatory attitude toward the walkout he seemed to display earlier in the week. They also noted that they had been told “not to bring in outside speakers because they would be escorted off.”

A friendly exchange between students and PRS Superintendent Judy Wilson occurred just before the walkout began, however. Ms. Wilson, who was among the observers in front of the school, along with Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lew Goldstein, told the students that she was “absolutely respectful” of what they were doing, and “very proud of their ability to analyze issues” and articulate their opinions. She praised how well-prepared they were for the event, while also noting that “we feel strongly about instruction, so teachers are moving forward with 7th period as usual.”

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