Ohio attorney general urges school resource officers to train for school shootings

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 8:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - School safety is top of mind as students head back to the classrooms in just a few weeks.

We learned the Ohio Attorney General is pushing for life-saving training to prepare school resource officers for school shootings, in the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting in Texas.

Experts say training is key when it comes to responding to emergencies.

And school resource officers need to have a plan.

A course called SORAT, which stands for “Single Officer Response to Active Threat” is designed for just that.

The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy developed this training and 19 Investigates found grants are helping fund it.

We spoke with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost about how important it can be.

“The school resource officer is the person that’s on the ground, if God forbid something should happen,” he said.

He said it doesn’t happen often, but if it does, training is essential.

“And you got to think through in real time what you’ve got to do. It’s too late at that point. You need to already have gone through that, and already understand what you need to do,” Yost said.

Yost wants more school resource officers to get trained and learn to recognize school threats before they happen, so they can work hand-in-hand with police.

“I think it is important to have uniform ideas on how we approach these things, because you’ve got sometimes multiple agencies responding. And it’s important to have that. We already do some of that training, we have more in the works,” Yost said.

This upcoming school year, a new law allows school districts to decide whether to arm teachers and staff.

19 Investigates asked Yost whether he thinks training for school resource officers would need to be updated to go along with this new law.

“Well, I think they’re... hmm. So the training is being conducted by the Department of Education, so I guess I’m probably not going to offer an opinion,” Yost said.

He did not want to answer that question, but Yost did have this to say about how the new law impacts training.

“We’ve got to have good communication and how should we say this, good tactics, good interaction between police and adults in the school that might be responding as a stop-gap measure,” Yost said.

We found Ohio’s School Safety Fund has more than $5 million available in grants.

So far, more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies across the state and 100 schools have taken advantage of the program.

19 Investigates reached out to the governor’s office to see if training will be updated in light of the new law allowing teachers and staff to be armed in schools.

We have not heard back.

We also called the Ohio Department of Education and they referred us to the Ohio School Safety Center.

We have not heard back from them either.

Copyright 2022 WOIO. All rights reserved.