Camden, Collingswood High School students walk out to honor victims killed in Texas school shooting

"We're tired of having to worry about not being able to walk out of our school at the end of the day," said junior Aidan Dimarco.
CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Students in South Jersey walked out of their classrooms Thursday demanding to see change in the gun violence plaguing our country.

Chopper 6 was overhead as several hundred students walked out of Collingswood High School. They stood in silence for 21 minutes to honor the 21 people killed in the mass shooting in Texas.

Students say they are frustrated and tired of being worried about going to school and not knowing if they'll make it to the end of the day.

"Students don't feel like they are being heard and we are trying to let them know we have a voice. At the end of the day, we're going to be here making the decisions for the future of the country," said Collingswood junior Aidan Dimarco. "We're tired of having to worry about not being able to walk out of our school at the end of the day."

Students also walked out of Camden High School chanting for change, while some held flowers to honor those who lost their lives.

"The children in this school system today will one day be our superintendent, chief of police, our mayor, president, one day those children will be doing these jobs, it's our job to protect these children," Camden County Sheriff Gilbert "Whip" Wilson said.

An increase in patrols will be present at all Camden city schools for the remainder of the year, that includes two to three officers outside of all school buildings, according to Camden County Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez.

He says at least one officer will be present at any given time.

"It's not a fair fight, but that's why we train constantly to respond to these types of incidents. Officers know, even if they respond alone, they are going to go in and stop that threat," said Rodriguez.

The increase in security comes after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde.

"Locally, I want to see more protection around us because this is a really big school," said Camden senior Treshawn Green.

Officers say a police presence at their schools is nothing new. They're now ramping up their efforts.

Staffing issues may cause for some challenges, but officials say the safety of students and educators remains a top priority.
"Of course, manpower is an issue everywhere across the state in policing. Our retention is low still. We're going to still make it work. Probably a little overtime for us, but we'll make it work," said Rodriguez.

In Camden, police presence will remain throughout summer school. Officials are working to make sure the extra patrols will continue in the fall and for years to come.

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