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.
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.”