Hundreds of students at New Jersey’s Cherry Hill East High School walked out in protest on Tuesday, in response to the suspension of teacher Timothy Locke. The AP History instructor was disciplined after he allegedly made a comment about the school’s safety situation after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Locke had reportedly told his class that their school shared similarities with Columbine High School, which was the location of a school shooting in 1999, and that he was worried that an attack like the one in Parkland could happen in Cherry Hill.
Locke told Philly.com that school officials suspended him for the remarks, and ordered him to undergo physical and psychiatric evaluations.
Tuesday’s walkout follows a protest that students staged on Monday, and a petition for Locke’s reinstatement that garnered 500 signatures.
The school’s principal reportedly threatened students by saying that those who participate from the walk out would be banned from a school trip as well as prom.
Despite the threats, students don’t appear to be intimidated.
“This man just meant too much to me for me to sit down and watch this injustice happen,” said Justin Prechodko, who circulated the petition.
Parents of the students have voiced support for their kids, saying they support their stance and Locke’s concern for the school’s security.
“They decide to walk out tomorrow as they did today, I support them,” Melanie Wimmer, mother of a Cherry Hill East student said. “They get suspended, I support them.”
[Image via NBC10 screengrab]