ICYMI: Congressman Joyce Dodges OH-14 High School Students

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Contact: Brexton Isaacs, Brexton@BetsyRaderForCongress.com

ICYMI: Congressman Joyce Dodges OH-14 High School Students

Novelty, OH – On Friday afternoon, a group of Mentor High School students marched to Congressman David Joyce’s congressional office in Mentor, calling for him to hear their perspective on gun safety. As The News-Herald reported, neither Joyce nor his staff came down to talk with the students, who walked to his office after school.

“It’s so disappointing that Congressman Joyce is refusing to acknowledge these high school students who care so much about our community. Their important perspectives deserve to be listened to,” said Betsy Rader, the Democratic candidate in OH-14. “When I get to Congress, I’m committed to being transparent and accessible to folks in our district. One of the things I hear most from voters is that they’re frustrated by Congressman Joyce’s refusal to hold a public, in-person town hall. I commend these students for their persistence and dedication to holding their elected leaders accountable.”

Andrew Cass of The News-Herald and Ashton Marra of WKSU covered the students’ march to Congressman Joyce’s office. Click to read the full stories, or see excerpts below.

The News- Herald: Mentor students march to Rep. Joyce’s office to advocate for gun control

“Not one more, not one more,” a group of about 20 high school students chanted as they marched down Center Street in Mentor April 20.

Their destination was the 8500 Station St. office of Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge Township, to advocate for gun reform. They marched the roughly two miles from Mentor High School.

April 20 marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. It’s also been a little more than two months since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Several Stoneman Douglas survivors have protested gun violence in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead.

Mentor High School junior Fintan Bracken said those students have served as an inspiration for the group that marched to Joyce’s office. While they have emboldened other students, Bracken said the frustration already was boiling beneath the surface.

Students around the country walked out of school as part of National Walk Out Day to protest gun violence. The students in Mentor marched after the school day ended.

“Hey, hey, hey, don’t take cash from the NRA,” the students chanted as they crossed through a parking lot near Joyce’s office.

Upon arrival, they alternated from group chants to individual messages with the help of a megaphone.

“Safety in schools is not a privilege, it’s a human right,” one student said.

Another added that no child should have to fear whether this could be their last day on Earth.

Neither Joyce nor a representative from his office came down to address the protesting students.

The group of protesters stood outside the office for 22 minutes — one minute for each person who has been killed in a school shooting since the Parkland incident.

Social media has been an important tool for bringing student activists together, Bracken said. While a majority of the students protesting outside Joyce’s office were from Mentor, they were not alone. Among them was Hallie Cunningham, a senior at Grand Valley High School in Orwell (Ashtabula County).

Cunningham helped organize a town hall on gun control in Jefferson April 7. She said that Joyce declined an invitation to the event, so she thought she would bring her concerns to him.

“We’re marching so nobody has to march again,” another student said.


WKSU: Ohio Students Prepare For More Walkouts Friday

Sixteen-year-old Fintan Bracken is a junior at Mentor High School. Students there plan to march after school to Republican Congressman David Joyce’s office to ask for what Bracken calls common-sense gun laws—like universal background checks and restrictions on the size of magazines.

“We go to school every day and we don’t know if we’re going to have to evacuate the building when the announcements come on and I think that he should listen to our voices and understand why we need these reforms.”