Superintendents reviewing emergency plans

On Feb. 27, a 17 year old walked into Chardon High School and opened fire in the school’s cafeteria while students ate breakfast. Six students were injured, and five were hospitalized. In the last few days since the shooting, three victims have died.

The suspect is Thomas “T.J.” Lane, 17, a former student at Chardon High School. Lane was taken into custody after he was tackled by a teacher, who also serves as the football coach.

The charges that have been brought up against Lane so far are three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated attempted murder, and one count of felonious assault. This tragic event will affect and haunt those who survived and witnessed what transpired that morning.

While Chardon High School, located near Cleveland is a suburban high school with an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, this shows that an incident like that could happen anywhere. There has not been a school shooting of this caliber since April 20, 1999 when two students opened fire on their own high school.

The fatalities reached the double digits with 15 deaths, including the gunmen, and 24 injured.

“I would be naive to say it couldn’t happen (here) … nothing is out of the realm of possibilities,” said Larry Elliot, superintendent of Switzerland of Ohio school district. “We do take steps provide a safe learning environment.”

Elliot like most other admistrators has watched the coverage that has flooded the media.

“Our hearts go out to the students and parents (at Chardon),” Elliot said.

The schools in the area already have plans in place in case anything like this would ever happen.

“We have a three ring binder with emergency disaster plans, crisis response, and grief resolution for students,” said Superintendent Tony Scott of the Bellaire School District.

These superintendents have reviewed the plans put in place in case something like this were to happen. These plans are reviewed regularly.

“We are reviewing plans to have everything in place in case something would happen. It’s been discussed. We have plans in place,” said Walt Skaggs, superintendent in St. Clairsville. “It’s scary and the best thing we can do is to be as proactive as possible.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is urging all schools to review and update their floor plans and emergency plans to prevent anything like this from happening in the future.

Van Dyne can be reached at