School leaders in the district where Oregon District shooter Connor Betts graduated offered condolences Thursday night during their meeting at Bellbrook Middle School that drew about 100 community members.
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims of this horrific event,” Bellbrook-Sugarcreek school board President Elizabeth Betz said, referring to the Sunday rampage that left nine people dead and dozens of others wounded or injured on East Fifth Street. Dayton police shot and killed Betts, 24.
Classmates have said Betts had a “hit list” in high school. The district has rejected media requests to release his disciplinary records, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
“With unity we will face this tragedy together. We have a strong community and at times like this we must band together to stay strong to support one another,” Betz said.
“We want to thank first responders who put themselves in harm’s way in that situation and are prepared on a daily basis to act first and act fast. As your school board, please know that the safety and security is at the heart of every decision we make,” she said.
Following the Oregon District shooting, Sugarcreek Twp. police said 44-year-old David Wallace Heilman made threats against the district.
Thursday night, Heilman remained in the Greene County Jail on suspicion of making false alarms.
Following Betz’s remarks, Superintendent Doug Cozad said, “As district superintendent and as a district resident for the past nine years, I know how important that as a community that we remain united and choose love over hate every day with every action.”
“We want to make sure our schools are safe and welcoming for all those who enter through our doors,” he said.
“This means that we try our best to provide an environment that encourages creativity, compassion and innovation, but this also means that we continuously monitor and improve the safety precautions we implement on our campuses,” Cozad said.