Coach who faced gunman, faces lawmakers; trying to get SRO training standards

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Five years after the tragic deaths of three students at Chardon High School as a result of a school shooting, not every school in Ohio has a school resource officer.

There are several reasons for this, cost is often cited as one of them, but for coach Frank Hall it doesn’t make any sense.

“We protect everything from our hospitals to our malls to our money; it’s kind of mind boggling that we are not protecting all of our children,” said Hall.

Hall chased the gunman from Chardon High School’s cafeteria on that fateful day in February 2012.

He has since started a foundation that focuses on getting school resource officers in every school in America.

Tuesday he was in Columbus to testify in front of lawmakers on the merits of House Bill 318, a bill that would set up minimum standards for the training of SRO’s.

Currently, there are no regulations in place that deal with what an SRO should know, or the kind of training they should get.

Some school districts have SRO’s that are trained in child development and psychology, and even instruct in some classes such as physics by showing how it can be used to reconstruct accidents; or in health classes to describe the effects of opioids.

Some SRO’s have learned skills that allow them to deescalate conflicts to the point where things get resolved enough so that students are not bringing weapons to the school.

But not all SRO’s have this training. Some are little more than security guards; while others don’t have the communication skills to interact with young people on their level, instead treating all students as if they were adults.

“They’re not adults yet, they’re not really children and they’re developing,” said Nancy McArthur, the Mayor of Chardon.

McArthur joined Hall in testifying at the hearing Tuesday.

The two believe that having SRO’s trained to deal specifically with young people will lead to better outcomes, that is why they are pushing for a minimum of 40 hours of training and ongoing education.

Currently the bill grandfathers in all current SRO’s and would only apply to new ones.

Some are concerned about who will pay for all this training, but Hall says that problem will sort itself out.

“It’s just a matter of us having the determination in our hearts and minds to do that and we can get it accomplished,” said Hall. “This is the greatest country in the world; we can always find the money.”

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