EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 15, 2012

Locals react to school shootings

President Barack Obama spoke for the nation yesterday when he said “every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.”

The hurt caused by the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut has reawakened an awareness by parents, school administrators and others about how such tragedies can affect us all, especially children, and the need for support and protection from harm.

Haverhill Superintendent James Scully said yesterday staff will be available tomorrow in all schools to support students.

“We will have school staff that can field questions and help children who may have questions and troublesome feelings,” Scully said.

Scully also said he has been in contact with Haverhill police Chief Alan DeNaro and there will be an increased police presence at all the schools tomorrow.

“The issue that is in many people’s minds everyday is that there is always the possibility of these things happening,” Scully said. “People trust us with their children and that is a sacred trust.”

School districts around the region sent letters to families with suggestions on how parents should tell their children about the tragedy.

“As parents, you will want to decide how best to talk with your child or children about the incident,” wrote Salem, N.H. Superintendent Michael Delahanty. “For all children it will be important to minimize exposure to television news reports. Let your child take the lead regarding how much or how little to discuss this, but provide an understanding ear and listen to your child’s concerns. After talking with your child, if you feel it will help to have your child talk with somebody at school, please notify the school principal.”

Scully said it’s important to make a delicate balance between being safe and frightening the children.

“We can’t make schools lockdown like a prison,” Scully said. “But we have to do what’s reasonable and do what’s best to prevent what happened yesterday.”

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