OLATHE, Kan. — A month after a shooting at Olathe East High School, the district is investigating if it responded in the best way possible.
Elmore is charged with attempted capital murder in the shooting, and also remains hospitalized due to his injuries.
Several investigations into the shooting are being conducted by multiple agencies.
The Olathe Board of Education received an update about its internal investigation during its meeting Thursday evening.
“We’ve tried to be as transparent as possible with our community, there are multiple ongoing investigations from that day, from multiple agencies right now. Speaking about the specifies of that day are something that can’t be done tonight,” Dr. Jim McMullen, Assistant Superintendent, said Thursday.
While the district can’t get into specifics about the case, it is taking a long look at its policies and procedures.
It is also working to make sure it has support in place to assist everyone involved in a large emergency like the shooting.
The support started immediately with the response by first responders and volunteers, and continues weeks later, according Jim McMullen.
“That first week back we had a tremendous amount of additional district support personnel on site at East, doing anything and everything,” McMullen said.
He pointed out that assistant principals served lunch, and other staff covered addition support roles, allowing teachers to simply focus on students.
There was also a plan to provide a tremendous amount of mental health support in the high school. According to McMullen, there were 50 counselors embedded in classrooms on the first day back following the shooting.
Agencies with therapy dogs also made that help available.
“Seeing the kids working with the therapy dogs and the smiles on their faces and return to a little normalcy was just awesome,” McMullen said.
The district is working with Johnson County Mental Health to make sure there is support available for anyone who needs it. The district said mental health help will continue through a clinic this summer.
The school district is also working to determine if it needs to change the way it responds to emergencies like the one that happened on March 4.
“What was our response that day? How did we respond? Who did what? What roles were managed and who managed them. And also what lessons can we learn?” Brent Kiger, Director of Safety Services, said.
Kiger said the district has spent time going over what happened with investigators and has an upcoming meeting with the fire department.
“We also understand there might have been a few things we could have done different and that’s what we are doing now is sitting down with these folks to figure out what can we learn in the unfortunate event of something happening similar, how can we do it better?” Kiger said.
The district sent an internal survey to teachers and staff at Olathe East High School to make sure they have a space to share their thoughts on the emergency and the district’s response to it.
“We think it’s a critical part to hear from their perspective. While we all know what we did that day, we want to hear what they perceived that day and how it went from their perspective,” Kiger said.
A Safety Town Hall at Olathe East High School is scheduled for April 19 at 6:30 p.m.
The district said that it will not be able to share specifics about the investigation into the shooting, but it does plan to share its comprehensive safety plan. The district wants to make sure parents and community members know it has a number of things in place to protect employees and students.
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