Local parents reflect on shootings in Connecticut

Posted at 8:09 PM, Dec 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-14 20:10:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Parents of local children felt shock, grief and anger on Friday as the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut unfolded.

"I'm completely shocked," one parent said.  "As a parent, my heart goes out to the parents of those children," the parent added.  "Wow, I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through."

At Fox Elementary School, dozens of parents eagerly greeted and held their children closer right after they were dismissed for the day.  Many are contemplating how they will explain the death of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.  Several of the victims are between the ages of five and 10 years old.

One parent said, "I don't know how I'll tell her."

"I don't know how I'll be prepared to answer," another parent said.  "I'll have to say I don't know because I can't put myself in their place."

Henrico County school sychologist Joshua Lutz spent Friday emailing and calling school counselors, physiologists and social workers.

Lutz said that parents need to give brief and simple information only, but they need to be honest and available.

"They need to be reassured that they're safe... that's one of the main concerns people are going to have," Lutz said.  "They're going to see this on TV or hear about it."

Counselors say children feel more safe if they are prepared.  Lutz said schools go through safety procedures, but parents need to be more proactive and know it's okay to speak up.

Here are a few tips on how to talk about violence with your children:

  • Reassure your children
  • Make time to talk
  • Keep it age appropriate
  • Review safety procedures
  • Observe their emotional state
  • Limit TV viewing
  • Keep your routine