In wake of school shootings, Chardon administrators talk guns

Frank Hall chased the Chardon High School shooter, but he doesn't think things would have ended differently if he had a gun

Frank Hall remembers the day that a student walked into Chardon High School armed with a gun and ready to kill.

CHARDON, Ohio (WKBN) – In 2018 alone, we’ve already seen a number of school shootings across the U.S.

Two 15-year-olds were shot and killed in Kentucky, and more than a dozen others injured.

Another teen was hurt in a school shooting near Dallas, and 17 students were killed during a mass shooting at a Florida high school. 

Closer to home, this month marks the anniversary of the Chardon High School shooting where three students lost their lives.

As more gunmen enter schools across the country, school officials are scrambling to figure out how they can keep kids safe.

Some districts here think the answer is letting teachers carry guns.

Survivors of a school shooting in Chardon say they think there’s a different solution.

“Losing three young men that day is something that stays with you,” said Football Coach Frank Hall.

Hall remembers the day that a student walked into Chardon High School armed with a gun and ready to kill.

“I heard what I thought was a couple firecrackers go off, so I get up look over, and I see him there with a gun,” he said.

Hall jumped into action, chasing the gunman out of the building before he could shoot any more kids.

But, he doesn’t think that day would have been any different if he had a gun.

Hall now works with Tim Armelli, a Chardon High School teacher.

Together, they make up the Coach Hall Foundation, a group trying to stop any more students from dying.

When it comes to teachers carrying guns, Armelli thinks it’s a big mistake.

“Teachers aren’t trained to do that; teachers are trained to teach,” he said.

Instead, they think the key is school resource officers, or SROs. They’re trained law enforcement officers in the building who can respond to a shooter in a matter of seconds.

“Most schools have three, four, five custodians in our building. We’re just looking for one SRO,” Armelli said.

Eventually, they hope to pass legislation to get an SRO in every school in Ohio.

In the meantime, they say active shooter training made a big difference on that fateful day six years ago.

They say each district should have active shooter drills often and research the newest tools to use in an emergency.

“Never stop questioning what you’re doing and is it enough, because it can never be enough,” Armelli said.

Chardon didn’t have an SRO in its building on February 27, 2012.

Three days later, they did.

While students and staff are still working to recover from this tragedy, they’re trying to help other schools learn from them.

“We fought back; we didn’t let evil win,” Hall said. “We’re going to pull ourselves up, fight for the memories of Danny, Demetrius and Russell, and move forward.”

Right now, the Coach Hall Foundation is working to get House Bill 318 passed. It would define what a school resource officer is and detail the officer’s training.

Tune into WKBN 27 First News at 6 p.m. for a look at one school in our area that already has an SRO. We looked at what they do on a daily basis to keep kids safe. 


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