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Dayton Students To Participate In National School Walkouts In Protest Of School Shootings

Many students at Oakwood High School walked out of school March 14, one month after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.
Samuel Caruso

Hundreds of young people, teachers and parents are expected to gather Friday for another National School Walkout in protest of school shootings.

Students from at least two Dayton high schools are organizing the rally at the Lincoln Park Civic Commons at Fraze Pavilion.

The Dayton rally is one of more more than 2,000 simultaneous protests planned across the country Friday. It’s the third mass student-led anti-gun-violence event since the Feb. 14 high school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.

The national March for Our Lives drew hundreds of thousands of protesters to Washington, D.C. on March 24. And a previous National School Walkout March 14, one month after the Parkland shooting, prompted thousands of students across the country to leave their school buildings for local, coordinated anti-gun rallies.

Oakwood High School Sophomore Sammy Caruso says the National School Walkout events will also commemorate the 13 victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, which occurred before many of the Dayton student organizers were born.

“A lot of people don’t really know about the Columbine shooting because it didn’t happen when they were alive," Caruso says. "It’s not relevant to them the same way that some of the modern shootings are because they’re just happening where we can see them – on television. But the fact that they keep happening, we need to see an immediate fix because this isn’t new and it’s been happening far too long.”

Caruso and his fellow student organizers want lawmakers to pass tighter gun regulations.

He says organizers are also hoping Friday's rally will inspire more young people to get involved in politics.

In addition to a list of student speakers set to lead the rally, many Democratic elected officials have also been invited to speak, including Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, and Beavercreek Congressional-hopeful Theresa Gasper, who is running in the Democratic primary for Ohio's 10th U.S. House District seat, currently held by Republican Congressman Mike Turner.

Friday’s walkout is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at both Oakwood and Kettering Fairmont High Schools. The rally at Fraze Pavilion runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.