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Superintendent discusses changes Ohio district made after 2017 school shooting

Superintendent Kraig Hissong made several changes after the shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School, but the district decided against arming teachers.

WEST LIBERTY, Ohio — One school district in Ohio understands the fear when it comes to having a school shooter inside their buildings. Back in 2017, two students were shot inside of West Liberty-Salem High School in Champaign County.

“In our situation, our student ended up having a full recovery and it turned out to be kind of a happy ending to what was a tragic day, [Texas is] never going to get that happy ending in their situation,” said Superintendent Kraig Hissong.

On Jan. 20, 2017, one student was shot point-blank in the bathroom, another was hit by a pellet from a shotgun. Since then, Hissong said they've made several changes, including not allowing students to hang out unsupervised in the building before school starts, after the district's shooter was hiding in the bathroom before school.

The district looked into adding metal detectors but found them to be too expensive and time-consuming to use every day. One thing they decided not to do is arm their teachers.

“We talked about that almost immediately after the incident occurred and that was something that our board talked about, our staff talked about, and at the end of the day we just did not feel comfortable with having a teacher armed,” the superintendent said.

But the district did add a school resource officer in the fall of 2017. He is a deputy sheriff for Champaign County and works during the school day.

“It is at least a much faster response than what we would get if we did not have them here and in a rural environment like ours, in a county school district where a deputy could be 10 or 15 minutes away, it’s very helpful to have a school resource officer in the building,” Hissong said.

The shooter in West Liberty's case is still alive. Back in 2018, he received the max sentence of 23.5 years in prison for attempted murder, felonious assault and inducing panic.

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