Ohio District Cancels Classes After School Shooter Escapes From Prison
Like many communities that have dealt with high-profile acts of school violence in recent years, Chardon, Ohio, is still healing.
That's why the district is taking extra steps to help its students today after school shooter T.J. Lane, who killed three students and wounded several others in a 2012 rampage, escaped from a prison about three hours away Thursday night and was recaptured about six hours later. Lane is serving three life sentences after he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in a bizarre court appearance where he smirked and wore a t-shirt with the word "killer" scrawled across the front with a marker.
When Lane escaped, Chardon school officials announced plans to cancel classes Friday and offer counseling to students. They did not change their plans after he was recaptured early Friday morning.
"The safety and well-being of all students, staff and community remain our highest priority," Superintendent Michael Hanlon, Jr. wrote in a message on the district's website.
Chardon's high school and middle school are open today for students, employees, and community members who need counseling, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. "The last several hours have certainly been very difficult as we come to grips (with Lane's escape)," Hanlon said at a news conference. "While the individual is back in custody, there has certainly been an undeniable, profound and deep impact on our entire community."
As Newtown Superintendent Joseph Erardi explains, recovery from violence can be a long, unpredictable process for schools. In Newtown, administrators project it could take as long as 15 years for students, staff, and community members to recover from a 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
When shooters survive their acts, that recovery can be complicated as victims trace their progress through the justice system.