KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Additional law enforcement and additional counselors were in place Monday at schools across Olathe Public Schools after a police officer, administrator and student were shot Friday at Olathe East High School.
Olathe East Principal Dr. Kerry Lane wrote in an email that the enhanced presence at the school would serve “as a reassurance for our students and staff that our building is safe and secure.”
Olathe East senior Jaylon Elmore has been charged with attempted capital murder for allegedly shooting School Resource Officer Erik Clark.
Assistant Principal and Hawks Athletic Director Dr. Kaleb Stoppel and Elmore also were injured in the shooting.
“I am so proud of our students and staff for the way they handled themselves in the midst of an unthinkable situation,” Lane wrote. “It was one of the worst things that could happen in a school, but thanks to our safety protocols in place we were able to prevent a terrible situation from being far worse.”
Another officer has stepped in to serve as Olathe East’s full-time school resource officer as Clark recovers.
He and Stoppel were treated and released from Overland Park Regional Medical Center on Friday, but Elmore remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition Monday morning, the hospital said.
“The events at Olathe East were unimaginable, but I am so grateful that our safety procedures, including elements of ALICE, worked just as they were supposed to in order to prevent something far worse from occurring,” Superintendent Dr. Brent Yeager wrote in an email that went district-wide.
Lane wrote in the email that both Clark and Stoppel are “doing well, are back home with their families and are on the mend.”
Olathe East had extra counselors on hand Monday in the school library for students needing one-on-one support. Other counselors and therapy dogs were expected to rotate through the school.
A parent group also had donuts on hand to greet students Monday with other parents holding signs of support outside as students returned to school for the first time.
“While we cannot take away the hurt and fear from Friday, I know that as a community we can wrap our arms around one another and heal together,” Yeager said. “I am so grateful for our Olathe community and know that we can overcome anything together, stronger, as one Olathe family.”
Support measures were slated to remain in place throughout the week, the district said.
“We have informed our staff that our main priority (Monday) and this week is reestablishing a sense of comfort and safety among our students, so please be assured that all staff will offer grace, flexibility and understanding as it relates to academics, attendance and grades for students,” Lane wrote.
Students, faculty and staff throughout the Olathe district will be asked to wear orange and blue, which are Olathe East’s colors, on Wednesday in a show of support for the Hawks community.
“I want to take this opportunity to reach out and reiterate that the safety, along with the emotional wellbeing of our students and staff, is our top priority,” Yeager wrote.
There also will be banners for Stoppel and Clark on which students, faculty and staff can sign or write personal messages.
“We know that each member of our community is at a different place in processing Friday’s events,” Lane wrote. “Please know that we are prepared to support every student and staff member this week, no matter where they are. I also want you to know that we recognize there may be students who aren’t ready to return to school just yet, and that is perfectly normal.”
The Olathe Public School’s Education Center is collecting donations and cards for Stoppel and Clark. For more information, call 913-780-7000 or drop cards off at 14160 Black Bob Road.
“Talk with your student about reporting concerns to district staff or law enforcement, listen to your student and help them process any feelings they may have, model appropriate behaviors and demonstrate healthy ways to cope with stress, and most importantly, if you see something, say something,” Yeager said.
Regarding the investigation into the shooting incident, Yeager said “we do not have all the answers,” but that the main priority is focusing on moving forward together as a community.”
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.