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Local Schools Join "National School Walkout" On Columbine Anniversary

Jerry Kenney

Oakwood and Fairmont High Schools held a joint rally this morning at Fraze Pavillion. The rally was one of hundreds taking place across the country as part of a “National School Walkout” movement. The purpose of the rally was to call attention to school shootings and call for stricter gun laws.

Meigan Karolak is fifteen and a sophomore at Fairmont. She’s one of the co-organizers of the rally. 

Credit Jerry Kenney
Sammy Caruso (left) and Meigan Karolak co-organized the local walkout.

“It was certainly a process, but the school was very accommodating," she said. "They let us leave without consequences but we worked with the city, we worked with a lot of people who were just helping us.”

Sixteen year old Sophomore, Sammy Caruso, also helped organize the walkout for Oakwood students. In addition to stricter gun laws, he says the rally was a call for continued political action.

“It’s been a main point of our walkout today is we want students to volunteer for campaigns to get involved in the political system and to keep the movement going."

Caruso says there were “a decent amount of students from both schools who did not participate in the walkout and stayed in school, however a handful of students did join the rally, but in protest

Gradon Weimer, a seventeen year old Fairmont student, was one of five students that counter-protested the call for harsher gun laws.

Credit Jerry Kenney
Gradon Weimer (left) says several teachers have given him odd looks of his black sweatshirt that reads "Ban idiots-not guns" but says for the most part, students with differing viewpoints at school have been respectful to each other.

“The Florida Shooting, the kid had a mental health problem," said Weimer. "Nobody did anything and he shot 17 students, and I believe the the problem is not the guns. People who have mental health problems are the problem.”

Today’s “National School Walkout” was a response to that Parkland, Florida school Shooting and was also chosen to commemorate the April 20th, 1999 Columbine High School shooting.

Several local officials, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, joined students and faculty for the rally.


Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.