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Princeton High School students walk out in support of ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’

A tree with a sign attached that reads "the aunties and uncles and cousins of greater Princeton give us life." On the same sign is a crocheted blanket with a peace symbol. In the background, people are walking around a green lawn strewn with blankets and tarps.
The “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Cannon Green.
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

At approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday, around 50 Princeton High School (PHS) students walked out of school to join protesters at the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on the University’s Cannon Green. The walkout occurred between classes during a passing period and in between morning and afternoon AP exams, which were administered as usual. Princeton Police officers accompanied protesters to campus, which is about one mile from PHS. 

Once students arrived at Cannon Green, they congregated on the lawn with other protesters, eating food, making art, and joining in protest chants. 


The walkout occurred on the 15th day of the sit-in and the seventh day of a hunger strike carried out by a portion of the protesters. A day prior on Wednesday, Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest announced on X that one of the strikers was admitted to Princeton Medical Center for “dehydration” and “malnutrition due to starvation.”

According to students who attended the walkout, about 50 students made the trek from PHS to Cannon Green.

PHS sophomore Konrad Hedges told The Daily Princetonian he chose to walk out to “show that the people at PHS and Princeton University are not choosing to be silent on this, even though people around us often tell us not to talk about the situation [in Palestine].”

His father, journalist Chris Hedges, was briefly banned from campus after giving a speech using amplified sound, a violation of University policy, on the first day of the encampment.

Another PHS student, Zia Hughes, reiterated Konrad Hedges’ call to “break the silence,” telling the ‘Prince’ that she is “really proud of the students of PHS” for joining the protest.

“It’s even scarier to stand alone. And that just shows how deeply the students at our high school care,” Hughes added.


Asma Qureshi, a junior at PHS, told the ‘Prince’ that she had been to the encampment prior to the walkout.

“The unity here is so inspiring,” she said.

She also noted that her experience at the encampment had impacted her perspective on college, saying that it “kind of opens my eyes a bit and lets me think about what kind of colleges I want to go to.”

All three students emphasized the importance of students’ right to protest.

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“We are grateful for the support that we’re getting from the adults and teachers at PHS,” Hedges told the ‘Prince,’ though he noted that some teachers warned students not to walk out as they would be marked absent. 

In an email sent to parents of students in the Princeton Public School (PPS) system, Acting Superintendent Kathie Foster and PHS Principal Cecilia Birge called the walkout “orderly.” While the email voiced support for the “respectful behavior” of protesters, they took issue with what they characterized as “signage and inappropriate flyers” which were distributed to PHS students prior to the protest. 

Posters obtained by the ‘Prince’ read “Stop the genocide, speak out, walk out” and “Teacher, what did you do during the Gaza genocide?” 

The email warned that the school was investigating such posters, saying that “if students are found to have violated the PHS Code of Conduct or district policies, there will be appropriate consequences.” 

A student has also alleged that their keffiyeh, a scarf often used to show solidarity with Palestine, was confiscated for “making people feel unsafe.”

When asked about what content in the posters potentially violated school rules, as well as the stolen keffiyeh allegation, a PPS spokesperson told the ‘Prince’ that it was “irresponsible” to comment “without a comprehensive, objective investigation.”

Student participants repeatedly emphasized the sense of community at the protest.

“From my experience going to the encampment, it really is just about community and love and activism for peace in Palestine,” Hedges said, noting the opportunities for relationship-building and discussion. 

Qureshi reiterated Hedges’ message, emphasizing the importance of community.

“I think we all feed off of each other’s hope.” 

Vitus Larrieu is a senior News writer and head Podcast editor for the ‘Prince.’

Assistant News editor Christopher Bao contributed reporting.

Correction: This piece has been updated to reflect the misspelling of a student’s name. The ‘Prince’ regrets this error.

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]