Garden State Equality and ACLU-NJ to Students: We have your backs

Two of NJ’s leading rights organizations want NJ young people to know they’re here to help

In the wake of widespread student activism following the massacre in Parkland, Florida, Garden State Equality and the ACLU of New Jersey have come together to send a message to students: we have your back and we’re here for you.

"The tide has finally turned and the voices of students are carrying the waves of justice throughout our nation," Said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino. "I want every young person to know that all throughout history, change has come from those who are brave enough to stand tall regardless of those telling them to stand down. In New Jersey, my wish is that every student feels confident knowing that ACLU of New Jersey and Garden State Equality, two of New Jersey’s largest social justice organizations, have your back. As leaders of social movements, we are coming together to provide resources that highlight your rights as students."

The ACLU-NJ and GSE reiterate the students holding demonstrations at school, including walkouts, have rights. The ACLU-NJ offers basic guidelines to students online, and a few key points in brief:

  • Even for activities like walkouts that fall outside the boundaries of school rules, students can’t be punished extra harshly or disproportionately.
  • Schools can’t block the doors to stop a walkout.
  • Schools can’t stop kids from talking about political topics for being too controversial.

On Thursday, March 8, at 8 p.m., the ACLU is holding a nationwide webinar for students to understand their speech rights.

“It’s heartening and important for young New Jerseyans to make their voices heard. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always without consequence, but we hope to serve as a resource on what schools can do, what they can’t do, and what they should do,” said ACLU-NJ Deputy Legal Director Jeanne LoCicero. “You are the ones who will inherit the duty of keeping liberty strong for the next generations, and we hope school administrators will embrace the spirit of civic engagement.”

Your rights in schools:

Students should contact Garden State Equality at or (973)509-5428 or the ACLU of New Jersey through their intake form if their rights are endangered.