New Jersey school blocks flower delivery for student who walked out to mark Parkland shooting

USA Today Incident 7 months ago

South Plainfield High School students walked down Lake Street Wednesday in solidarity with the nationwide school walkouts calling for more gun control.
Nick Muscavage | Staff Video

SAYREVILLE, N.J. — Roses worth more than $1,000 were sent Friday to a New Jersey high school student who walked out of class on National Walkout Day, but the school refused the delivery.

The school administration said that its policy is to not accept any packages from third-party senders.

According to Stacey Gregg, an organizer of the delivery, donations were made from residents all across the state to pay for roses to be sent to Rose Rodriguez, a sophomore at Sayreville War Memorial High School who walked out of class Wednesday morning to mark the one-month anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. 

Rodriguez was the only student who walked out of the front of the building despite the threat of punishment from Sayreville school officials. She garnered nationwide attention.

There were about 10 other students who walked out of the school Wednesday, but they exited the building from a different door than Rodriguez.

"I can confirm there was a rather large floral delivery intended for a student today," said Kevin Ciak, president of the Sayeville Board of Education.

"While it was a thoughtful gesture, as a matter of student safety, schools are instructed not to accept deliveries from unverified third parties. It was indicated to the florist they would need to contact the intended recipient directly and arrange for pickup at the florist’s location."

Sayrewoods Florist, which completed the order of roses, confirmed that 14 vases, each holding 17 roses, were prepared for Rodriguez and delivered to the school Friday morning.

It is unclear if there are any policies preventing deliveries from outside of the school to students. Principal James Brown did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the course of reporting on the school walkouts.

Louis Roros, the owner of the florist, said the call for the roses came late Thursday night, Roros said, and the delivery was made around 10:30 a.m. Friday. 

There were 238 roses in all, along with balloons with Rodriguez's name on them. Roros said he charged a discounted price of around $1,000.

"All the cards say Rosa Rodriguez," he said. "It was over $1,000."

Gregg said she organized the delivery of roses because she was inspired by Rodriguez.

The people who donated toward the delivery "were all touched by the video" of Rodriguez walking out of school by herself Wednesday morning, Gregg said.

"She's the only one who went all by herself," Gregg said, "and that takes courage."

She said the school administration's decision to discipline students was "absolutely over the top" and failed to recognize what the month anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting was about.

Contributing: Susan Loyer

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