Anchorage Parents React to Connecticut Massacre
News of the murder of 20 children struck every parent
ANCHORAGE - The victims of the Connecticut massacre were at the front of parents' minds as they picked their children up from Lake Otis Elementary on Friday afternoon.
“You feel sick about it, there's no way a sane person can wrap their mind around what was maybe going on in that person's mind,” said Lyndi Johnston, mom of an eighth grader.
Every school day Eduardo Casarez drops off and picks up his three grandkids.
He says he's struggling with how to explain the news of the shooting.
“Tell them the truth, but to a point,” said Casarez.
“They're going to pose a lot of questions and we are going to answer them as best as possible without giving them too much information,” he said.
When Lake Otis Elementary School children finished for the day, most of them had no idea about the shooting.
The news of the murder of 27 people in Newtown, including 20 children, none older than 10, reached Anchorage after class had started.
"I hope there hasn't been a whole lot of talk about it in the school… I hope that as a family we are allowed to be the first ones to talk about it,” said mom Lyndi Johnston.
Principal Doug Gray said it's unlikely the shooting would've been discussed in class -- and it's up to parents to explain the tragedy this weekend if they choose.
“Communicating, answering the questions that the children have, but doing it in a calm way so the students still feel that, 'ok, this is a situation, it's sad and tragic but it's not going to impact how I do at school,'” said Gray.
Principal Gray said teachers and the school's counselor will be ready on Monday to help reassure students.
“It could be working with some kids in the morning… kind of working through their feelings, touching base with them during the day,” said Gray.
“The teachers all have really good relationships with their students, so they'll be able to pick up if they see a student that's having some problems,” he said.
For many parents across the country, the tragedy Friday morning in Newtown was a reminder of how valuable life is.
“I always want to leave them with, 'I love you, have a good day'” --it did make me think about that, how you can get caught up in the moment and not appreciate your children as precious little gifts,” said Johnston.
Twenty precious gifts were taken away from parents in Connecticut on Friday.