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Schools' Soul Searching To Protect Children

Moraga district sends email to parents with advice on what to tell children about the Connecticut school tragedy.

The mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday horrified the nation and left parents questioning how they can protect their children.

Twenty-seven people were killed—the majority of them children between the ages of 5 and 10—at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The violence is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

Moraga Schools Superintendent Bruce Burns sent an email to parents Friday with advice:
"Please keep the following in mind as your children raise questions about what they may have heard or seen:

  • Share known information – be factual, but brief.
  • Acknowledge children’s feelings (sadness, surprise, etc.)
  • Reassure your children that they are safe. These types of situations are very rare. Let your children know that you have confidence in the adults that are in charge of protecting them.
  • Limit TV exposure — Repeated images and stories of horrific events can be very problematic. Children sometimes cannot differentiate between a report on a single event and one that appears to be repeated over and over.
  • As quickly as possible, engage children in the normal routine.
  • If your child is experiencing significant emotional distress over this issue, please let us know so we can provide any needed support."

Burns said counseling would be available for students.

Security measures

Schools are perceived as a safe place for kids, though few have security measures in place to defend against violence like what happened at Sandy Hook School.

The school's doors are locked at 9:30 a.m., and visitors are required to sign in, according to the Sandy Hook School website. When violence erupted Friday morning, the school went on "lockdown," according to media reports. That means teachers and staff locked students inside classrooms rather than risk evacuation.

Stories of heroic teachers and school staffers at the school have emerged. One teacher locked all of her students in a closet to protect them, the Huffington Post reported.

Parents were notified by a reverse 911 call that went out to all Newtown public school families, NBC reported.

The Sandy Hook shooting also has pushed gun control into the national spotlight again.

Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco/San Mateo who has been an advocate for stricter bans on assault rifles in California, sent condolences to the children and families of Newtown.

“In a year with so many appalling acts of gun violence, this is the most shocking of such tragedies," Yee said in a prepared statement. "While we do not have all the details behind this senseless and unconscionable massacre, it is a sad and horrific reminder of what is possible when guns get into the wrong hands. We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.”

The story of the ongoing investigation into the shooting is on Newtown, Conn. Patch.

Patch has a compilation of news coverage of the Connecticut tragedy.

KFrances December 15, 2012 at 08:04 PM
and is anyone REALLY surprised that there was a mass shooting so early in the lame duck term...& so close to Christ-mas...there's a lot to legislate (like Russia)and not a lot of time... and CBS News points out that Obama and Bush are blood relatives...who knew ? ...and Cheney and oh there is a lot that is not what it appears...: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500202_162-3424359.html
Dive Turn Work December 16, 2012 at 12:29 AM
KFrances not since A&F decided to release thong panties for 10 to 14 year old girls have I heard an idea as absurd as yours.
Bailey Lee December 16, 2012 at 06:08 AM
That's not what this study in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy says: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf But then again facts are usually not as newsworthy as sensationalism and, of course, hidden agendas.
lovelafayette December 16, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Live WITH a gun, die BY a gun is the risk EVERY gun owner takes. NYT reveals this woman as an avid gun collector, who took her boys to the shooting range for a fun family acitivity. Her hobby and choice of family activities enabled her son to commit mass murder. I shed no tears for her. The question is how to protect the rest of us from idiots like her who live with a mentally ill family member in a home that teaches gun play and is full of guns.
Chris Nicholson December 16, 2012 at 05:55 PM
OMG! Did you just write that? Are you freaking serious? You shed no tears for a woman murdered by her crazed son BECAUSE SHE OWNED GUNS. If you believe that then you are a monster, blinded by your zeal. Look, if the facts show that she knew of her son's violent potential and also failed to keep her guns locked up, then I would say that people like that should be punished. But to say that summary execution is an appropriate consequence is just shocking.

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