Twenty children and six adults were gunned down in a suburban Connecticut elementary school Friday, law enforcement sources said.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Adam Lanza, 20, is the primary suspect. His mother, Nancy Lanza, also was murdered, the Tribune reports.
In light of this senseless massacre, Elmhurst Unit District 205 Superintendent David Pruneau has shared the following statement via the district's website:
"Our hearts go out to the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut in light of the terrible events that transpired there today. We were, of course, shocked as this horrific crime unfolded. Unfortunately, as a nation we have become too accustomed to this type of tragedy, which touches all of us deeply.
Although our buildings are always locked during the school day, as soon as we learned of the shooting, I sent word to our principals to go into “high alert” mode, related to building security.
Please know that while there is no plan that can totally prevent a random act of senseless violence like this, District 205 does have a school safety plan in place that has been reviewed by law enforcement authorities, administrators and teachers, who serve on our District Safety Committee. As the lessons of this event emerge, our plan will be reviewed and updated accordingly.
This tragedy will be splashed across every communication medium for days and weeks to come. It will most likely be difficult for our children to escape hearing about it. In times like these, when parents aren’t sure what to do, or how or if to talk about such tragedies, it is helpful to be able to access the guidance of child health experts."
The statement included links to the following websites to help parents talk to their children.
- American Psychological Association – Helping Your Children Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting
- American Academy of Pediatrics – Resources to Help Parents, Children and Others Cope in the Aftermath of School Shootings
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Children and Grief
- Massachusetts General Hospital for Children – Talking To Children About A Shooting
- Child Mind Institute – Caring For Kids After A School Shooting
Pruneau offered the following advice:
- Let your child ask you questions, rather than just giving all the information. This helps you know how much he or she can handle. Be truthful without exaggerating the concern.
- Watch for signs that your young child is in distress: any unusual changes in behavior; fear of being alone or the dark; excessive crying, bed-wetting or other reversion problems; acting out; sleeplessness; etc. If you notice these behaviors, contact your medical professional for follow-up.
"Our school social workers will be available to speak with students next week, should they need additional support. Again, I want to emphasize that the safety and welfare of our students and staff is our top priority. If you have any specific questions regarding the safety plan at your child's school, please feel free to contact the school office for more information."