Panel discusses ways to cut down on scourge of school shootings

AKRON, Ohio - One month after the deadly Parkland school shooting and on the same day thousands of students walked out of their classrooms in a show of support for change, a panel discussion took place at the University of Akron on how to prevent school shootings.

The panel was comprised of a school guidance counselor, a teacher, two superintendents, a state lawmaker, an education professor and an advocate for arming teachers. All of them voiced their opinions on how to go about ending this country’s plague of school shootings.

"I think that everyone, and we all agreed, is frustrated and ready for change, and to do that we have to work together and listen to our students," said Nikki Diehm, a history teacher at Chardon Middle School.

Diehm works in a district all too familiar with school shootings. In 2012, three students were shot and killed by a student at Chardon High School and three others were injured.

Diehm knows teachers are no longer simply teaching, but they’re often forced to become parents, therapists and friends to their students.

"Our kids are doing everything they can right now and if people aren’t going to listen to them as the ones that are involved every day, I don’t know. I think we’re all at a loss as how to move forward," she said.

"If you just had a bunch of 35-, 45-year-old people up here, they wouldn’t know what it’s like sitting in the classroom, watching all these things happen," said Casey Cipollone, a sophomore at Westlake High School.

Cipollone was the only student on the panel. He created a school safety activist group at Westlake High School, and it was clear his message was taken to heart.

"This is it, enough is enough, never again," said Cipollone. 

A sentiment shared by all.

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