Three students are dead and two injured after Monday’s shootings at Chardon High School. Accused gunman T.J. Lane opened fire Monday morning in Chardon High School’s cafeteria while students were waiting for buses. He is currently in custody awaiting sentencing and will likely be tried as an adult. Prosecutors have stated that the killings were random, although other sources suggest there may have been other factors.
Students at Chardon returned to classes today, following a week of vigils in the community. Counseling services will continue to be made available for students and staff. Funerals for the three students killed, Daniel Parmetor, 16, Demetrius Hewlin, 16, Russell King, Jr., 17, will be held this weekend and next week. One injured student has been released from the hospital, while another remains in serious condition.
Lockdown drills are being praised for preparing teachers and students for a rapid response to the tragedy and possibly preventing further injuries and deaths. Annual lockdown drills are required by state law. Assistant football coach Frank Hall was praised for his efforts to chase the gunman from the school, even while being shot at. Stephen Sroka, adjunct assistant professor at Case Western’s School of Medicine, studies school violence prevention and was quoted in an article on how the lockdown training helped teachers and students know how to respond. He states the importance of making sure parents know what to do in the case of a lockdown.
Community-wide violence prevention programs also play a key role in preventing tragic events like this one and responding to violence when it does occur. Schubert Center Faculty Associate and Director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Dan Flannery does work with the Cuyahoga County Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent children’s exposure to violence and mitigate the negative effects of violence when it does occur. He joined Faculty Associate Robert Findling on Wednesday’s Sound of Ideas to discuss the shooting and it’s aftermath. In the program, they highlight the importance of providing counseling resources to students and community members, helping children feel safe and make sure children know that adults are looking out for them. They say that different children will respond to the tragedy in different ways. They also stress the rare nature of school shootings and the importance of school preparedness.
Several other Faculty Associates study violence and its impact on children. Jeff Kretschmar studies violence and aggression. Patrick Kanary studies youth violence prevention and childhood exposure to violence. Mark Singer studies substance abuse, mental illness and youth violence. James Spilsbury studies community and family violence and its impact on children’s sleep, health and behavior. Christopher Stormann studies mental health and violence prevention. Patrick Kanary, Jeff Kretschmar and Christopher Stormann are all affiliated with Case’s Dr. Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Center for Violence Prevention & Education.