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How to Talk with Kids about Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, Conn.

There is no doubt we will all hug our children a bit tighter this evening, but Stillwater Area Schools Superintendent Corey Lunn also encourages parents to talk with their children about the incident and allow them to share their fears and concerns.

Hug your kids today.

On Friday morning a Connecticut town once voted the safest place to live in America experienced horrific violence in one of its elementary schools.

“Oh, our hearts are so heavy for the families in CT,” the Facebook status update from Moms of Stillwater reads. “All those babies. Parent or not, it's so hard to fathom the lives of innocent children taken this way."

This heart-wrenching event brings forth grief, disgust, outrage and fear.

It also spurs conversation about mental health, gun control, school security and how to talk with children about unthinkable events such as this. 

School Security

How can we keep our schools more safe? Are we doing enough here in Stillwater?

In an email sent to parents today, Superintendent Corey Lunn wrote:

“I want to assure you that we take school safety very seriously. We've spent considerable time and energy in recent months to revise our school emergency plans, train staff, and increase school safety. We will continue to be vigilant about school safety, and ask that you work with us to make our buildings safe places for our children.”

How to Talk with Your Children

There is no doubt we will all hug our children a bit tighter this evening, Lunn wrote, and also encourages parents to talk with their children about the incident and allow them to share their fears and concerns.

School officials suggest parents visit this link for some tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping your children cope with news such as this.

The American Psychological Association offers this information about discussing how parents can help children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting.

A Facebook post from Stillwater Community Education Youth and Family Programs reads:

Tragedies like today are difficult for all of us to process. Here are some things to consider when talking with young people about these types of incidents.

The Stillwater Area School District will have additional counselors and staff at school next week to support students.

If you have concerns about your child’s reaction to this news, contact your child’s teacher or school principal to learn about the resources available.

Tragedies like today are difficult for all of us to process. Here are some things to consider when talking with young people about these types of incidents. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/youthdevelopment/components/7414-05.html

In a statement Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said:

"Today, innocent children and educators lost their lives in an unspeakable tragedy. When we send our children to school, we expect they will be safe and secure. Nothing is worse than when our confidence is shaken and the safety of a child is put into question. Our hearts go out to the Newtown community as they begin the long process of healing in the days, weeks and months to come."

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