That did not stop Lorna Gregory, 15, a student at Pace University High School, from joining in on Friday. “This is considered cutting. I think I failed dance. I had a 97, and now I’ll have a 40 or something,” she said, standing on a bench in the park to see over the crowd of students. “It’s kind of worrying me a little bit, but I’m standing for a cause.”
(She may not need to worry: “We would not take account of school discipline in a circumstance of peaceful protest on a pressing matter of conscience and national debate,” said a spokesman for New York University, John H. Beckman. At Columbia University, any students “who face disciplinary action for peaceful protest will not be at a disadvantage in the Columbia admissions process,” according to Victoria Benítez, a spokeswoman for the school.)
On the C train on Friday, Zeny Gatdula was with a group of classmates she had drawn from the Professional Performing Arts School, their banners in their laps. “In humanities class we are taught about history, these great people who stood up for what they believed in, even when everybody was against them. And I think that’s the key in getting people to rise up,” she said.
She was 17 years old, she said, but in a month, she would be able to register to vote, a moment she was looking forward to, when she could become more than just a protesting voice. It was a sentiment shared widely across the protests, where in Manhattan and Ridgefield, teenagers filtered through the crowds with voter registration forms.
In Connecticut, the students’ goals were overt: On a fence by the football field was a sign that read, “Can’t hear us now? How about in 200 days?”
In 200 days it would be Nov. 6, the date of the midterm elections.