Home Social Justice One year later, Chardon High School honors shooting victims

One year later, Chardon High School honors shooting victims

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The Cleveland suburb of Chardon was changed forever on the morning of Feb. 27, 2012, when a student brought a gun to the local high school and opened fire in the cafeteria.

Now, just over a year later, the students of Chardon High School are using community service as a way to ease the healing process.

The one year anniversary of the fatal event fell just one day after the alleged shooter, 18-year-old T.J. Lane, pleaded guilty to killing three students and injuring three more. Students spent the day participating in various projects such as making leashes for therapy dogs and knitting homemade blankets for Project Linus, a national organization that distributes blankets to children in need.

“[The events of the day] surprised me. It was more uplifting. They made it easy to go throughout the day,” Gabby Nedrow, a senior at Chardon High School, said.

In the afternoon, the students watched a commemorative video featuring messages from 16-year-old victim Danny Parmertor’s sister as well as others. The school day ended with a solemn march through town, from the high school to the town square.

“It was sad, but it was also relieving. Everyone was there for each other…people put aside their differences,” Nedrow said.

The purpose of the anniversary event was to serve the community as a way to honor Parmertor and the two other victims: 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlin and 17-year-old Russell King Jr.

Nedrow said that she didn’t know King very well, but she had a class with Hewlin and described him as quiet but optimistic.

“I don’t think I ever saw Demetrius not smiling,” she said.

As for Parmertor, Nedrow said that she had known him all through middle school. She remembered him as “an average teenage boy… [who] lived in the moment,” and recalled that he loved to ski and play video games.

The families of the victims have made their own effort to get justice for their sons. On Feb. 27 – a year from the day of the shooting – they filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lane’s parents and grandparents.

The lawsuit accuses Lane’s family of negligent supervision and claims that the victims’ families “suffered and will continue to suffer damages for mental anguish and emotional trauma.”

Lane, who could face life in prison at his March 19 sentencing, was not a student at Chardon High School. He was waiting in the cafeteria for the bus that took him to an alternative school at the time of the shooting.

Nedrow, who knew Lane throughout middle school, said that she never would have imagined that he would commit such a violent act.

“I knew [he seemed like] a nice kid. He mostly kept quiet…the day it happened, a lot of people were surprised. I was blown away [when I heard] that it was him,” she said.

In the wake of this tragedy, especially with the new legal issues that have arisen, the local and national media have descended on Chardon and are keeping a vigilant eye on the community. However, Nedrow said the school and community have remained strong throughout this ordeal and that Chardon is much more than a town stricken by tragedy.

“We try and show that we’re still Chardon High School. We’re still the community that gets a ton of snow every year,” she said. “We don’t want to be known as the school that had a shooting.”

 

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One Comment

  1. […] I personally have not been affected by a school shooting, but I know people who have. I’ve talked with a girl who was a student at Chardon High School at the time of the February 2012 shooting there – […]

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