Less than a week after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, gunshots rang out in another school. Today, February 20th, an Ohio seventh grader shot himself in the bathroom at Jackson Memorial Middle School in the town of Massillon.
Ohio police told the Associated Press that no other people were harmed in the shooting. The student who shot himself is being treated at a local hospital, and his condition is not currently known. It’s unclear if he acted intentionally.
According to Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC, the shooting occurred at about 7:50 a.m. Jackson Township Police Chief Mark Brink told WKYC that the student used a .22 caliber gun, and authorities don’t know how he obtained it.
In response to the shooting, schools in Ohio’s Jackson Local School District were placed on lockdown. All four elementary schools in the district were closed, and the neighboring high school was evacuated. Middle school students were dismissed and picked up by their parents. The district also posted on its Facebook page that extracurricular activities were canceled for the 20th.
During a news conference, Brink said that the student also had “distractionary-type devices,” that could be used to redirect people’s attention. He clarified that these devices were not bombs. He added that the police would investigate how the student brought a gun into the building.
According to Newsweek, in the two days after the Parkland shooting, on February 15th and 16th, students were caught bringing guns to school in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Maryland, Alabama, and Idaho. According to the nonprofit group Everytown for Gun Safety, the Parkland shooting is the 18th school shooting in 2018.
After the Parkland shooting, surviving students began leading protests against gun violence and calling for gun reform. And the incident with this Ohio seventh grader further highlights the need for gun reform. We’re relieved that no other students were harmed in this shooting, but it’s terrifying to consider what could have happened. We need to end gun violence now.