Sayreville students want to improve safety

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Editor’s note: This story took place during “Let the Children Lead,” where students in the Sayreville School District participated in the place of and under the names of board members and district administrators during the March 20 meeting. The comments from board members and district administrators during the meeting described in this article were made by the students under the direction of the board members and district administrators.

SAYREVILLE – Students in Sayreville want to improve safety for themselves and other individuals in the district amid requests for increased school safety across the nation.

At a Board of Education meeting on March 20, students spoke before the board to discuss their ideas.

Board President Kevin Ciak first noted the interest to participate in a national walkout on March 14 in honor of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

“As a board, we want to encourage the opportunity for student dialogue,” Ciak said. “No students had approached the board about participating in the walkout until the night before at 7:40 [p.m.]. Even Mr. [John] Lewis, our student representative, wasn’t aware of any student interest in this issue until that evening. The only person we had heard from is one parent. We are excited that students wish to be a part of the solution and are interested in launching a conversation.

“We understand that you are working with Mr. Brown to start that conversation and we support you in doing so,” he continued. “As you saw from tonight’s meeting, we want student input on these important issues. Our only limitations as a board are that we cannot permit students to walk out of school for safety reasons and that we cannot chose a position on these issues for you. That leadership must come from you and we look forward to working with you as you develop your own solutions to these complex problems.

“On a personal note, the petition you prepared was very well done, very professional and very strategic,” Ciak said.

“First let me say that I am both impressed and inspired by the authors of this petition, the students that spoke this evening and all of our amazing young adults at the high school,” Labbe said. “I would be both humbled and honored to participate on any questioning panel with regard to the safety and security of our students which you have developed with Mr. Brown in an appropriate forum. I will be there.”