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Ohio lawmakers honor Chardon school shooting responders

10:47 PM, Mar 28, 2012   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Legislature honored the first responders, law enforcement officers and school officials involved in handling a deadly school shooting in Chardon.

The group of about 50 authorities and school leaders visited Columbus on Wednesday, a month after the shooting at Chardon High School. Both the House and Senate recognized them during their afternoon voting sessions.

"As we continue to pray for the victims, the students, and their families, we also honor the brave individuals who rushed onto the scene and kept the situation from escalating any further," said State Rep. Mary Brigid Matheney, of Geauga County, before calling for a standing ovation for the contingent from Chardon.

The Senate had earlier given the first responders, sustained standing applause, after State Senator John Eklund, of Geauga County, said, "Those events will not, and we will not let them define us."

Eklund said there would be no official proclamation or resolutions, just the sincere thanks of the legislature for the heroic actions of the first responders.

The group also spoke with Gov. John Kasich and members of his Cabinet at a closed-door meeting. A Kasich spokesman said they discussed what lessons were learned from the incident.

Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland told WKYC he addressed the need for preparedness with the governor and his staff.

"When the incident occurs, there's not a lot of time to think about it," McClelland said. "You need to be able to take action in a defined, correct course, so you can move forward."

Chardon School Superintendent Joseph Bergant was appreciative of the meeting.  "We're in the process of restoring our learning environment," he stated. "This is part of that restoration. We're looking for a new normal in Chardon, with the help of our students."

The Associated Press

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