In February 2016, fourteen-year old Austin Hancock opened fire at Madison High School in Butler County, Ohio and wounded two students. A little over two years later, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, 43 students at Madison High School have been given detention after their decision to participate in the March 14th nationwide student walkout to protest school shootings. One of the students given detention, Cooper Caffrey, was one of the students shot that February day.
On the day of the walkout, the Enquirer says, Caffrey and 42 of his fellow students decided on an impromptu protest after the principal of the school said that anyone who decided to “disrupt the school day” would be punished. Despite warnings of school resource officers not to go past a certain point, they made it to the side of the building and said a prayer.
If the threat of punishment wasn’t bad enough, the group of winners who occupy the local school board actually did go through with it and gave the students, including Caffrey, detention (emphasis mine):
The meeting started again, and Superintendent Curtis Philpot eventually brought up the walkout. He said he expected there to be more protests in April, including one to mark the 19th anniversary of Columbine.
He asked the school board if they had anything to say or any questions they wanted to ask. After a long silence, none of them disagreed students should be punished.
“We are a society of rules,” one said.
Then, Board President David French said the students owe the school resource officer an apology.
Cooper immediately turned to his dad, who said he saw the blood seemingly drain from his son’s face.
“It was like being shot all over again,” he would later tell his dad about French’s words. Back on the cold floor, looking for help.
Then the school board reportedly started talking about arming teachers, in front of a kid who had been shot at his school. Very normal thing to do.
We’ve reached out to French for comment and will update with any response we receive.
According to the Enquirer, Caffrey’s father was fine with the punishment. “The whole purpose of a walkout is to protest against an establishment,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook. “I do not expect the establishment to support the walkout.”
Last year, Caffrey forgave Hancock in open court and said he still considered him a friend. Seems like the people who run his school could stand to learn a lot from him.