1 Year After Deadly Shooting, Great Mills HS Community Wears Teal to Honor Jaelynn Wiley

The Great Mills High School community is marking one year since the shooting that ended student Jaelynn Willey's life by wearing teal in her honor.

Jaelynn Willey was taken off life support days after a classmate approached her in the hallway on March 20, 2018, and fired. She was 16.

Another student, 14-year-old Desmond Barnes, was struck in the leg and managed to make his way into a classroom and call 911. The shooter, Austin Rollins, took his own life. Authorties say he previously had a relationship with Willey.

Willey's mother, father and eight siblings continue to mourn her death, but on Wednesday will also honor her memory by wearing her favorite color, teal.

The St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office led a service of reflection and prayer for Willey at a police lodge, which was followed by a procession to the Great Mills High School campus. 

After arriving on campus, Willey's parents and Blaine Gaskill, the high school's resource officer, placed flowers at the rock garden. Rocks in the garden spread messages like "Hornets Strong" and "Great Mills Pride."

Dawn Murphy, a mother of two Great Mills High School students, said the school's community is stronger than ever. 


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"We're stronger because I know that the school would come together and help each other," she said. 

A flood of social media posts shows the Great Mills community rallying around the family, sporting teal clothing and ribbons in her memory. Gun reform groups including March for Our Lives Maryland helped spread the word on social media using #TealforJaelynn.

The positive remembrance came after St. Mary's County Schools were targeted with online threats that "correlate" with the anniversary, the local sheriff's office said. The threats were not found to be credible.

The school opened two hours later than usual on Wednesday.

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