The mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning 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, CT. The violence is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
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 Puyallup School District has a protocol in place for emergency situations, and Puyallup Police reached out to school administration today and will have extra patrols around the schools as they let out for the weekend, Patch found.
"I told all of our officers to center their patrol efforts around our schools today, to be very visible in the community," said Puyallup Police Capt. Scott Engle. "After we got the news this morning, we immediately reached out to our schools and stopped in to say hi, and let them know we're in the area."
The Puyallup School District released the following statement today for all district families:
Responding to tragic situationsOur hearts go out to the families and educators of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today. We are deeply saddened by the news of this morning’s tragedy.
Please know that student safety is a top priority in the Puyallup School District. This is especially important to remember when visiting school buildings. Checking in at the office to sign in and obtain a visitor’s badge may be inconvenient, but it is a protocol which helps protect students and staff.
Our schools are well rehearsed through routine practice of emergency protocol. Teams of adults at each site have developed plans for and hold drills on a variety of crises. As part of these emergency plans, trained staff members are ready to respond to emergencies in the schools. Depending on the type of emergency, decisions affecting schools will be made by district officials in collaboration with the Pierce County Sheriff and Puyallup Police Department. We are confident that our staff and students are prepared for an emergency situation.
With all of the media coverage of the incident in Connecticut, it is likely that your child will learn of the school shooting and have emotion related to the news. With this in mind, we urge you to monitor your child’s behavior closely for the next several days. Elementary counseling coordinator, Bev Showacy tells us, “There is no one way people process grief. Sometimes there is anger, especially in older students, while for others there is a lot of sadness and even a lot of confusion.”
Parents are encouraged to take time to provide children with an opportunity to talk about their feelings. Let them know that it is okay to feel angry, confused, or afraid; and that it is okay to cry. As they work through their feelings, it may be enough just to have you close by for the next few days.
In future local emergency situations, we encourage you to check our district website, our Facebook page or Twitter for updates.
You may also subscribe to our emergency communications network. By subscribing to this site, a report of school schedule changes due to adverse weather conditions and other emergency situations will be sent to your e-mail account as soon as it is posted by the district.
In addition, make sure that your family’s emergency contact information is current at your child’s school office.
Together with the help of our parents, community members, and local law enforcement, we will continue to make our schools a safe and effective learning environment.
Join the local discussion on today's tragedy with Patch:
Connecticut School Shooting: Is Your Child Safe in the Classroom Anymore?
Is Today Not the Day to Discuss Gun Control?
Patch was on the ground today at Sandy Hook. Read more on Newton Patch:
- Patch Exclusive: 'It Wasn't Me' Man Named as Shooter Writes
- Report: Gunman's Mother Was Target and School's Kindergarten Teacher
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting