Officials at Alexandria City Public Schools are mindful of the importance of security, Superintendent Morton Sherman said Friday in the wake of the horrific deaths of kindergartners and others in Newtown, Conn.
"We want to assure our ACPS families that our security systems are mindful of the need to protect each and every child," Sherman wrote in a note to members of the school community. "The sad reality is that we as a national educational community have learned lessons about how to deal with crisis such as [Friday's] mass shooting."
Sherman said he encourages parents to talk with their children in a "factual and developmentally appropriate manner."
The National Association of School Psychologists' website offers resources for parents, including a handout for parents and teachers (PDF) about talking to children about violence.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers tips (PDF) for helping children copy after a traumatic event.
ACPS school counselors will be available Monday to talk to children who need additional support regarding this difficult topic.
"My heart breaks for the victims of this senseless act, and I know we will all hug our children a little bit tighter when we get home today," wrote Charles Barrett Elementary School Principal Seth Kennard in a letter to parents Friday.
On Friday, a gunman killed 27 people, including many young students and the school principal at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself. The shooter was identified as Adam Lanza.