CHARDON, Ohio — Ten months after a teenager walked into Chardon High School and shot several classmates, there is still deep pain in the community.
But, some in the community feel it’s time for some of the initial displays of support and comfort in the wake of the shooting to come down.
Around Chardon, red ribbons are still tied tightly around trees. Ronald Marx is a Chardon resident who has ribbons on trees in his front yard.
“It’s up there as a memorial to let everyone know that we cared and we felt bad about everything,” he said.
Three students lost their lives in the shooting.
While the ribbons have been comforting to victims’ families since the Feb. 27 shooting, Chardon city leaders are asking residents to take down the ribbons on public property.
“I understand where the city is coming from because the ribbons are definitely losing their luster. They’re fading. They’re tearing,” Chardon resident Katey Hardesty said.
She said it may be difficult to take down the ribbons and she couldn’t just throw them away.
“For some people, they might really need, still, the red ribbons to show the support of the community because the community, the students, the staff, they are still healing,” Haresty explained. She said maybe residents can replace the old ones with new ones.
But, city leaders say it’s not just about the wear and tear of the ribbons. They say removing them would be the next step in the healing process, and they may be used for another purpose.
“We’re standing together as a community. And if they feel it’s time to come down to try and heal, I would go along with that and take them down,” Marx said.
A drop off box for the red ribbons is now in the lobby of the Chardon Municipal Center so these ribbons that were once in the community might be used for a permanent remembrance for the victims’ families.
Hardesty thought that is a good idea.
“So, the red ribbons that we used to show the support over the past year is then going to be a continuing symbol as time goes on. As a community we’re moving forward, but it’s still hard,” she added.
City and school leaders say the next step is to focus on planning a permanent memorial to the three teens who died.
T.J. Lane, the accused gunman, is set to go on trial in January.