Madison superintendent: Lock up your guns

Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 18:47:20-05

MADISON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The first day back after a school shooting "went great," Madison Local Schools Superintendent Curtis Philpot said Wednesday.

"Attendance was at 90 percent," Philpot said. "I got a lot of hugs and 'thank yous' in the halls."

Philpot said four police officers were present at the Madison Jr./Sr. High School on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, staff reported to the school to discuss how to ease students back into classrooms after the shooting. Extra staff, police and counselors were present at the school Wednesday. Philpot said the school saw a "low turnout" at in-school counseling sessions.

Parents and students said they were apprehensive to return to the school today, but that a quick return was "for the best."

"You want to protect them but you can't hold them back," said Mary Ann Morris, the parent of a MJSH ninth-grader. "I knew they would be safe. I knew that they would have a great plan and great counselors. There's not one thing I could complain about."

Tenth grader Calista Banks said she was nervous to return to the school on Wednesday.

"I actually was sick to my stomach," Banks said. "But my mom made me."

IN DEPTH: Students give chilling accounts of school shooting

According to the Butler County Sheriff, a 14-year-old student shot two students in the school cafeteria. A total of four students were injured, but no injuries were serious.

The student charged in the shooting, James Austin Hancock, told investigators he got a gun from a family member.  Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said Hancock was showing the gun off to another student before the shooting.

"Please, get a safe and lock up your guns," Philpot said at Wednesday's news conference.

The school and district's handling of the shooting has garnered praise locally and nationally; Philpot said he's seen support from people across the country.

REACTION: After shooting, should teachers carry guns?

The Madison shooting is the first shooting in Greater Cincinnati since a student attempted suicide in a classroom at LaSalle High School in 2013.

Hancock was arrested Monday and, if tried as an adult, will face two counts of attempted murder, two counts of felonious assault, inducing panic and making terrorist threats, Jones said. 

Hancock denied those charges, which is the juvenile court equivalent of a not guilty plea. Hancock was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victims, and a pretrial date will be set for April.