NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) — Licking Valley Local School District students are back in the classroom Monday after the community was in a state of panic after a fake active shooter call last Friday.
Licking Valley School Superintendent Scott Beery said for the next several days, the entire district is focusing on providing support as many students, teachers, and staff are still shaken up after the hoax.
“If there’s two places in this world kids should feel safe, they should feel safe at home and at school and this robs it a little bit and it hits close to home,” Beery said.
It’s a sight no one wants to see at their school: Dozens of police cars, lights flashing, and fear of an active shooter on campus.
“They’re all our kids; that’s what I would tell them, and we’ll stop at nothing to keep them safe — I think they know that — we do everything we can,” said Beery, talking about what he wants the community to know.
Licking Valley School District was a victim of “swatting,” an active shooter call that turns out to be a hoax. In total, 12 schools across Ohio were victims of the false calls on Friday.
Beery said counselors from the Licking County Sheriff Crisis Team and other schools are providing support to everyone.
“This is not a snapshot in time right, you know will we have as much presence tomorrow and the next day, we’ll have that. Certainly, today was important and we’ll gage it,” he said talking about the need for counselors.
Kenneth Yeager is the director of the Stress, Trauma, and Resilience program, also known as STAR, at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
“People who have not seen that sort of a response are very easily shaken by that,” he said. “It causes psychological distress, and it leaves one to question their safety.”
Yeager said it’s important that families talk about what they went through and listen to what concerns are out there.
“Working with them to work through those fears and if that involves getting some assistance or going back to the school and walking through what happened at the school so you can ground the child,” he said.
Beery said he’s thankful for the quick and robust response from law enforcement, and that the district will examine its plans on how to respond to situations like this in the future and hope to help others.
“I guess my hope and prayer is that we can then share that with other local districts and say, ‘You might think about this,’ and I think we were as prepared as we could be,” Beery said.
Beery spoke with several classes Monday, specifically at the middle and high schools, saying those students are the ones feeling what happened Friday the most.