The mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning horrified the nation and left parents questioning how they can protect their children.
Twenty-seven people were killed—the majority of them children between the ages of 6 and 7 —at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. The violence is the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Schools are perceived as a safe place for kids, though few have security measures in place to defend against violence like what happened at Sandy Hook School.
The school's doors are locked at 9:30 a.m., and visitors are required to sign in, according to the Sandy Hook School website. When violence erupted Friday morning, the school went on "lockdown," according to media reports. That means teachers and staff locked students inside classrooms rather than risk evacuation.
Stories of heroic teachers and school staffers at the school have emerged. One teacher locked all of her students in a closet to protect them, the Huffington Post reported.
Parents were notified by a reverse 911 call that went out to all Newtown public school families, NBC reported.
District officials with Newark Unified School District expressed sympathies about the tragic mass shooting.
"We're deeply saddened by the events in Connecticut, at Sandy Hook Elementary School," said Superintendent of Schools Dave Marken.
District leaders have taken initiative to remind the school community to be "vigilant and alert and be sensitive to the needs of both our parent community and students," Marken added.
"We have and we will continue to conduct lockdown drills and safety drills and have sent out safety talking tips," Marken said. "We still maintain that our schools are the safest place for our kids to be and we believe that."
What are your school's safety policies? Do you think they are adequate enough? Share your thoughts in our comments section below.
The Sandy Hook shooting also has pushed gun control into the national spotlight again.
Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Fransisco/San Mateo who has been an advocate for stricter bans on assault rifles in California, sent condolences to the children and families of Newtown.
“In a year with so many appalling acts of gun violence, this is the most shocking of such tragedies," Yee said in a prepared statement. "While we do not have all the details behind this senseless and unconscionable massacre, it is a sad and horrific reminder of what is possible when guns get into the wrong hands. We must limit access to weapons that can result in such catastrophe and mass murder.”
In Patch comments, Newark native James Nelson said while he believes firearms shouldn't be banned completely, stricter guidelines may be needed.
"Do people need to have the Option of Obtaining an Assault Rifle? NO. Home and Personal Security Firearms such as Handguns, Revolvers, and Shotguns or Hunting Rifles should be Adequate enough," Nelson wrote. "I'm of the Opinion that Gun's aren't the Sole Issue, however they do play a Pivotal Role in Gun Violence, sure. But the Blame is also squarely on the Individual whom Obtains the Firearm whether Legally or not. Obviously people with clear Issues should not be afforded the same Right as Law Abiding Citizens"
Newark resident Albert Rubio added that "banning something does not work."
"In fact such superficial actions contribute to the very actions they are meant to prevent," Rubio added. "Last thoughts, such shootings are very very rare and cannot be abolished by simplistic policies like outlawing guns (how is outlawing drugs working?). They evoke tremendous public emotions, which are then exploited for political agendas." Share your thoughts on gun control here.
Patch Editor Nika Megino contributed to this report.
See more coverage on Newton Patch:
- Patch Exclusive: 'It Wasn't Me' Man Named as Shooter Writes
- Report: Gunman's Mother Was Target and School's Kindergarten Teacher
- Reaction: Sandy Hook School Shooting
- Police Raid Sandy Hook Home Hours After Shooting