Chardon schools ask for mental health services money from state

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CHARDON, Ohio - It's been more than three years since the Chardon High School shootings.

"We're members of a club that nobody wants to be a part of," said Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon.

According to Hanlon, his district is still healing after the 2012 high school shootings that claimed the lives of Danny Parmertor, Demetrius Hewlin, and Russell King, Jr.

"It's very clear that while tremendous strides have been made in the recovery effort, there are still very deep and profound impacts from this tragedy that rest right below the surface," said Hanlon.

So, Hanlon recently traveled to Columbus to ask the House finance committee for an amendment to the state's budget. The amendment would continue funds of $750,000 to the district for mental health services over the next two years.

Joan Blackburn is a therapist with Beech Brook Behavioral Health Services who has an office in the high school.

"All students have to do is look at us and we'll say 'do you want to talk for a minute?'  They don't have to wait for anything. It allows them to get that out and then go on about their day," said Blackburn.

Hanlon says the state's help is crucial in allowing Chardon to establish a new normal in this community.

"Our budget alone couldn't handle it.  And we have continued work to do.  The impact of this is far-reaching, not only in terms of students but also staff," said Hanlon.

"We've seen that farther down the road, rates of substance abuse, unemployment rates, divorce, increase for kids involved in trauma.  So the hope is that with sustained intervention that we can try and stop that," said Blackburn.