KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The entire U.S. congressional delegation from Kansas has “introduced resolutions to recognize the heroic actions” of Erik Clark and Kaleb Stoppel.
Clark, an Olathe police officer who has served as the school resource officer at Olathe East for seven years, and Stoppel, an assistant principal and the athletic director for the Hawks, were both injured March 4 in a shooting involving a student.
Both Stoppel and Clark were treated and released for gunshot wounds at Overland Park Regional Medical Center within hours of the shooting.
The student, Jaylon Elmore, who allegedly brought a gun to school and exchanged gunfire with Clark using an unregistered and untraceable “ghost gun,” remains hospitalized in critical condition, according to an update Friday morning from the hospital.
Sen. Jerry Moran and Rep. Sharice Davids introduced the resolutions along with their congressional colleagues Sen. Roger Marshall and Reps. Jake LaTurner and Tracey Mann.
“The heroic actions and quick response of Officer Clark and Dr. Stoppel saved lives at Olathe East High School last Friday,” Moran said in a statement. “The outpouring of support for the Olathe East community has been inspiring, and this resolution is one more way in which we can honor the actions they took to protect others and thank them for the love, care and sacrifice they showed towards their students and fellow educators.”
Olathe Public Schools showed support Wednesday for Olathe East with a Wear Orange and Blue Day.
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“This was a traumatic event for our community, and my heart is with every parent, student, educator, and Kansan as we help each other move forward. I know I am joined by many of those community members in my gratitude for the actions of Officer Erik Clark and assistant principal Kaleb Stoppel, and we are all hoping for their full recovery,” Davids said in a statement. “I’m glad to join my Kansas colleagues to recognize and commend their bravery.”
The resolution lauded Stoppel for removing Elmore from class after receiving a tip from another student that he had a gun at school and credited Clark for his “swift response ... to neutralize the student after he began shooting.”
“Last week, Officer Clark and Dr. Stoppel acted swiftly and bravely to protect students and teachers from an active shooter at Olathe East High School,” Marshall said in a statement. “Their heroic actions no doubt saved lives and deserve to be recognized here in Congress. I thank them for their valiant service in the face of danger and continue to pray for healing and comfort for everyone in the Olathe East family following this unfortunate event.”
Clark has worked in law enforcement for 15 years, including the last seven at Olathe East, and Stoppel has been an educator for 13 years, including the last four at Olathe East. He previously taught math and coached at Winnetonka as well.
“Officer Clark and Dr. Stoppel selflessly protected their students and colleagues,” Mann said in a statement. “Offering our sincerest thanks and gratitude to these heroic individuals is just one small way to pay tribute to their courageous actions. God bless them both.”
The resolution “commends Administrator Dr. Kaleb Stoppel and School Resource Officer Erik Clark for their heroic actions to protect students and staff of Olathe East High School” and recognizes their years of “dedication and service to their community.”
"I am extremely grateful for the heroic actions of Officer Erik Clark and Assistant Principal Kaleb Stoppel last week,” LaTurner said in a statement. “There is no question that their sacrifice and bravery saved the lives of innocent students and staff at Olathe East High School. I continue to pray for the entire Olathe East community as they recover from this tragic incident and want to thank my colleagues for introducing this resolution to honor these two selfless Kansans."