April 3, 2018

Action Alert:
Tell School to Clear Record of Student-Survivor who Walked Out

Update: Madison High School student Cooper Caffrey and his father Marty went on to become fierce opponents of arming teachers in Ohio’s K-12 schools. Their advocacy against guns in the classroom is chronicled in the 2019 documentary “Teachers Training to Kill” by director Kira Phillips.

A 16 year-old Ohio student who was injured in a school shooting in 2016 recently received detention for participating in the National School Walkout on March 14 with 42 of his classmates.

Cooper Caffrey forgave his close friend Austin Hancock for shooting him in the school cafeteria in 2016. Cooper even took responsibility, telling his friend in court he was sorry for the times he could have done more to help but didn’t.

Madison High School sophomore Cooper Caffrey was one of two students shot at the school on February 29, 2016. The shooter was one of Cooper’s best friends.

On the day of the Walkout, Madison High students were threatened with punishment if they left the school. School officials then herded the 42 students who participated into a courtyard in the back of the school, preventing them being seen. When the students nonviolently tried to walk to the front of the building they were physically stopped by a school resource officer and school officials. After 17 minutes at the side of the building, the students concluded their protest with a prayer.

At an ensuing Scott County Schools board meeting, board president David French told Caffrey and his 42 classmates that they owed the Madison High school resource officer an apology. Then the board moved on to consider a proposal to arm teachers in schools.

“It was like being shot all over again,” said Cooper. He is now organizing a petition against arming the school district’s teachers.

Please contact Madison H.S. principal Justin Smith and board president David French through one of the channels below and give them the following message (personalized to your liking):

The way you have treated the 42 students who participated in the National School Walkout on March 14 is barbaric. You’re dealing here with an older student body that has survived a school shooting and, in the case of Cooper Caffrey, who was actually shot. To punish this young man for participating in a protest that in part was calling for better public policies to keep guns away from troubled individuals like his friend Austin Hancock is just disgusting and wrong. You should be celebrating young people like Cooper, who had the maturity and compassion to apologize to his friend for not doing more to help when he could have. Taking responsibility: That’s the definition of a leader. And yet you have the gall to demand these 42 students apologize to your school resource officer and then subject them to consideration of a proposal not to disarm future Austins, but to arm their teachers? Shame on you. I am calling on you to formally apologize to these students and expunge the detention from their official records. Finally, you should celebrate the remarkable courage and leadership of the students who survived the 2016 shooting and participated in the National School Walkout. 

Madison High School Principal Justin Smith
Phone: (513) 420-4760
Email at: https://mjshs.madisonmohawks.org/apps/staff/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadisonMohawks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/madisonmohawks

Scott County Board President David French
Phone: (601) 469-3861
Email link at: http://www.scott.k12.ms.us/Default.asp?PN=BoardMembers&L=1&DivisionID=16707&LMID=742057

Once you have contacted principal Smith and/or board president David French, click the orange banner below to report taking action!

This is an action alert, NOT an online petition. Please take the action before filling out the fields below.

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