First session Thursday in Columbus.
(Columbus) - The state is kicking off the first of five regional sessions to train Ohio educators to respond to school shooting situations. Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education are partnering on the free training for teachers and administrators along with law enforcement officers.
"Teachers and administrators are truly the first responders if you get a tragedy or shooting in a school," DeWine said.
More than 200 people registered for the first sessions Thursday in Columbus.
The state says planning for the training began after the school shooting in Chardon that left three students dead last February. It says the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school created a surge in interest and accelerated scheduling of the sessions.
"If you look at all these different tragedies we're beginning to learn some things about how to react to minimize the loss of life," DeWine said.
Thursday morning's course was taught by James Burke, a law enforcement trainer at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. He gave the class a risk factor sheet with eight items on it.
"Think about the student and start checking off whatever you can. We get to four or five...we need to start talking," he said urging educators not to hesitate to get law enforcement involved.
He broke down recent mass shootings and showed the warning signs that were there, but either ignored or not talked about.
"You're around these kids, you see them, you work with them every day. We need to get every link in the chain involved so we start talking when we see something," Burke said.
Burke dismissed concerns about profiling students noting that students are identified for being at risk for learning disabilities, dropping out of school, using drugs, or even pregnancy.
"We're not profiling them we're trying to help them," he said.
More training events are planned in Cincinnati, Chauncey, Toledo and Valley View over the next few weeks.
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