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The Purbalite

The student news site of Baldwin High School

The Purbalite

The student news site of Baldwin High School

The Purbalite

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Students protest Gaza violence

Many of the protesters  have been spreading their message through social media as well. 
Aria Majcher
Many of the protesters have been spreading their message through social media as well. 

A small group of students gathered during fifth period today to protest against the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

The students, who varied in numbers from less than a dozen to about 20 throughout the period, gathered with posters and their hands painted red to call for freedom for Palestine. The protesters started outside the main office and then marched the hallways of all three floors.

“It’s not even about religion – it’s about humanity,” sophomore Ayse Sari, the protest organizer, said. 

Sari, who is of Turkish heritage, feels connected to the violence in the Middle East. After seeing graphic photos of the violence occurring in Palestine, “I knew I had to speak on it,” Sari said. 

“I just want people to know what’s happening and that it should impact them severely. The fact that people are so uneducated about this topic makes me really sad,” she said. “If you have no humanity, you just don’t care about these people. I feel like if people cared enough they would do something about it.”

I feel like it’s a good way to show the student body of the school and show that we are brave and independent.

— Akriti Marak

Sophomore Akriti Marak said she got involved because she is aware of similar situations of oppression in her home country of Nepal.

“Palestine is going through the same thing as my home country, Nepal, and I feel strongly about this because of all of the people getting hurt out there and all of the lives being lost every day,” Marak said.

The protest gave students an opportunity to speak up about an important issue, she said.

“I feel like it’s a good way to show the student body of the school and show that we are brave and independent, and show up for what we believe in,” Marak said. 

Many of the protesters, including Marak, have been spreading their message through social media as well. 

“We are posting on social media apps and we are posting places you can donate to help the people in Palestine. There isn’t much we can do physically right now, so we are posting to try and spread awareness,” Marak said. 

Baldwin Principal Shaun Tomaszewski said he believes any student should have the ability to express their beliefs. 

“I am an unabashed advocate for student’s speech, even if that speech is controversial or potentially offensive,” Tomaszewski said.

He said he met with the organizers of the protest in advance, to warn them that some previous protests have had their message diluted by questionable behavior.

“In previous protests, the power associated with any potential message – and the impact that that message can have – got lost because the demonstration or protest just got out of hand,” Tomaszewski said. 

He said the students told him that would not happen with this protest, yet he was disappointed with the outcome. 

“What we saw today is similar to what we’ve seen in previous protests,” Tomaszewski said. “Today was almost a parade-type, carnival-type atmosphere,” 

But he does not think the protesters’ case is lost. 

“They could create a student group and they could raise funds through that group. They could conduct solid research. Those sorts of efforts show sincerity. It’s not just a sort of flashbang on social media,” Tomaszewski said.

Any potential discipline that protesters would face has not been decided, he said.

“I tell the organizers they can engage in protest and demonstrations, but they just are held responsible for violating any school rules,” Tomaszewski said. “If they skip classes, their teachers can write them up for skipping class. I certainly don’t prevent students from exercising what I truly believe is their right to speech.”

Staff Writers: Jacey Radcliffe, Aria Majcher, Maddy Behr, Ethan Green, and Zander Vecchione contributed to this report.

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About the Contributors
Jacey Radcliffe
Jacey Radcliffe, Staff Writer
Junior Jacey Radcliffe is a first-year Staff Writer. When she’s not listening to Lana Del Rey or Cass Elliot, she can be found drawing or hanging out with friends in her free time.
Aria Majcher
Aria Majcher, Entertainment Editor
Entertainment Editor Aria Majcher is a senior in her second year on the Purbalite. If she’s not spending all of her money at a record store, it’s probably because she’s spending all of her money at a concert. 
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