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Local News -

December 18, 2012

Area schools prepared to cope with shooting

Following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., area schools officials said Monday they were ready to meet the needs of their communities.

While there have been some questions from parents, students seemed little or not affected by the events, they said.

At Riverside Elementary School, Principal Melinda Murdock said school opened a little early Monday to allow her staff members time to talk about how to deal with the situation.

This included stressing the importance of acknowledging feelings and reassuring students the school is doing “everything we can to keep them safe.”

Besides some brief conversations in some classrooms, “students were not focused on it,” she said. No students came to her office.

In a brief discussion with students Friday, they were informed there was an incident but they were safe. That was followed with a letter home that informed parents about the talk and asked them to reinforce the message. It reminded them to be cautious of the impact of media coverage.

School counselor Sallye Sadlocha said the topic came up with a few students in a lunch time group who asked about how they would be safe. She discussed with them the safety plans that are in place, including a lockdown. In discussing the situation with staff and parents who inquired, she said it was important to keep children’s routines going and limit the amount of news coverage they hear. Young children may not understand that it happened only once and now is over. She provided several websites that would be useful for parents.

Several Riverside parents and grandparents discussed the situation Monday before picking up their students.

Tom Jackson was picking up his granddaughter, who is in kindergarten.

“I wanted to get over here early,” in light of Friday’s incident, he said.

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