I want to first express my deepest sympathies to the families of loved ones lost during the Sandy Hook tragedy. I can only imagine the pain.
When the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred our schools were sent into a whirlwind of fear and thoughts of recurrence. I was struck with thoughts of confusion as a mother of 3 children ages 15, 10, and 7. I wasn't sure if I should tell the children and risk them being scared or just let it be one of those things you don't tell the kids until they are really old enough to understand. My children were in their final days before Christmas break when it happened so they didn't hear much from school. We do watch the news daily so they became aware as it was released. Being the awesome mom I am, I took the time to explain the situation to my young children with great hope they would not go into fear mode. My girls and I sat and watched a tribute video we had found identifying each victim individually. I tried to answer all of their questions carefully. Overall, I think that went well. Nobody was scared and I felt they understood the gravity of the situation.
The kids returned to school yesterday, back from Christmas break here in our sleepy little Tennessee town, to find their school has new procedures. They now have a lock down drill they were also calling a code red. There was a lot of discussion of intruders and shooting. During this drill my 7 yr old was told to hide behind a bookshelf and the 10 yr old was also placed into a corner behind shelving and the adults were to stand in front of the children. I am not, by any means, putting down the schools procedure.
My oldest child, a 15 year old boy, also came home and said there was a discussion at his high school about it. His instructions were quite different from what the girls were told to do. Keep in mind the stories from a teenager can be changed from the original intention. He says, the students are instructed to charge towards the intruder and take him down. I am hoping there were more instructions to go along with that. Call me old school, but I would prefer them to just run and hide.
At the end of the day, the girls were more scared of an event happening than they were when it first happened. It seems all the preparation at school and discussion was a lot for their little minds to handle. Our bedtime routine was a little more troubled than usual due to worries and wandering minds. I had to reassure my young kids that the adults in their lives, being parents, teachers, principals, police, and other loving adults, would do their best to ensure their safety while at school and for them not to worry. A few extra hugs and kisses later they were calm and ready to sleep.