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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Students at McKinley pledge to shun guns

The principal of McKinley Elementary School in West Toledo knows many of his young students have seen the realties of gun violence firsthand.

"A lot of these kids know there are guns in their homes, some of them have seen people shot, and some of their parents have been shot," Principal John Korenowsky said.

The school's 500 students rallied outside with city leaders yesterday and pledged never to take a gun to school or use one to settle a dispute.

The pledge is part of the 11th annual National Day of Concern about Young People and Gun Violence.

This year, however, both Oct. 17 and 18 were deemed days of national concern.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner told the students to avoid guns and gave them some details of the shooting Tuesday night in which a suspect who had fled a traffic stop was somehow shot with a policeman's gun just off Reynolds road near Hill Avenue.

The event at McKinley was organized by several groups, including the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. Toby Hoover, its executive director, relayed a personal story of violence to the children.

"My husband was shot and died," Ms. Hoover said. "The hardest thing I had to do was tell my two children that their dad was not coming home."

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