On February 29, 2016, 14-year-old James Austin Hancock shot two of his fellow students at Madison Jr/Sr. High School in Middleton, Ohio. Fortunately, both victims survived the attack, 14-year-old Cooper Caffrey among them.
Cooper remembers eating chicken nuggets in the cafeteria, then falling to the ground, while his fellow students ran away in the chaos of gunfire. The incident would become among the more obscure school shootings, not making the cut for the national news. But when 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th of this year, he felt as many others did: enough was enough.
So Cooper made the decision — against the wishes of his school’s administration — to join the National School Walk-Out that took place on March 14. Along with forty or so of his fellow students, he walked right past the cafeteria where he had been shot two years earlier, and participated in the walk-out.
As a result, Caffrey and the other students who participated that day received detention as punishment. This was not unusual, other schools threatened disciplinary action if students walked out on both March 14 and April 20th.
And as Cooper’s father Marty explained on Facebook, that’s just fine with him:
“The whole purpose of a walkout is to protest against an establishment. I do not expect the establishment to support the walkout. He’s always hated the attention from all of this. I know that he really just wanted to pretend that day never happened.”