Cooper Caffrey was among the four students injured two years ago, in his school’s cafeteria and later offered forgiveness to the 14-year-old shooter.
On March 14, Caffrey went to school, ready to join students across America in walking out of class to protest school shootings. While the effort was led by Parkland, Florida students that had just survived a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, many students, who fear for their safety, were more than happy to lend their voice to the cause.
However, Caffrey’s principal warned all students that if they walked out, they’d be sent to detention.
Caffrey and 42 other students, walked past the cafeteria in which he was shot, and out their school’s doors. They were all given detention.
“The whole purpose of a walkout is to protest against an establishment,” Caffrey’s father wrote in a Facebook post. “I do not expect the establishment to support the walkout.”
“He’s always hated the attention from all of this,” his dad added. “I know that he really just wanted to pretend that day never happened.”
His family attended the local school board meeting where the members brought up the walkout. Superintendent Curtis Philpot asked if any of the other members had anything to say about any other expected walkouts. The elected panel all agreed that students should be punished.
“We are a society of rules,” one said.
Board President David French even went so far as to say that the students should apologize to the school resource officer.
Caffrey’s father turned to his son and watched the blood drain from his face.
“It was like being shot all over again,” Caffrey told his dad of French’s words. Once again, he was back on the cold cafeteria floor, begging for help. French wanted an apology instead.
He watched the board devolve into a discussion of teachers arming themselves in schools. The teen just buried his face in his hands.
“We should come to every single one of these things so that doesn’t happen,” he said.