CAMPBELL, Ohio (WKBN) – As school shootings across the country continue to put students in danger, some districts in Ohio are considering letting teachers carry guns. Others — including Chardon High School, which experienced a shooting in 2012 — think school resource officers are a better option.
Officer Wilbert Drayton is a school resource officer at Campbell High School. While roaming the halls, he’s ready and trained to respond to a gunman.
“I secure my door at 8:00, so if you come here as a shooter, you gotta get through me first,” Drayton said.
He’s been in law enforcement for decades — through the police academy and working at the sheriff’s office and even the jail.
Now that Drayton is in a school, he also goes through active shooter drills.
“You had to determine, was the shooter on the ground faking or in class? There’s a way you gotta approach a class when you go in there if you know he’s in there,” he said.
But on a daily basis, Drayton is simply bonding with kids and developing relationships with each student in the building.
“I try to make the kids feel like you’re not alone. Whatever you’ve been through in life, I’ve been there before,” he said.
The school and police department think it’s a preventative step, stopping students from reaching the point of violence.
“It’s not about policemen arresting kids or anything like that, it’s about helping kids, keeping kids out of trouble,” said Campbell Police Chief Dennis Puskarcik.
Walking down the halls, it’s obvious Campbell students trust Officer Drayton and can talk to him about their problems.
“Makes our teachers feel safe and when our teachers feel safe, our kids are going to feel safe, too,” Principal Brad Yeager said.
While connecting with the kids, Drayton always keeps his training in the back of his mind. He knows what he has to do if a shooter ever enters those doors.
“This is what you train for all your life,” he said. “You know there’s a possibility of dying to save somebody else’s life, but you also know, I wanna live so I’m going in there with that motivation to take out who I need to take out to protect myself and everybody else.”
Some local districts are already letting teachers carry guns, but those teachers have to go through training.
WKBN 27 was recently allowed to go inside that training right here in Ohio. On First News at 11, we explore what it involves and how much training teachers need to have a firearm in the classroom.