Central Ohio Schools Prepare For Difficult Conversations After Conn. School Shooting


Schools around central Ohio returned to school three days after an elementary school massacre in Connecticut.

In Gahanna, parents were promised that teachers would be prepared for difficult questions regarding the shooting that left 20 children dead in Newtown, Conn.

Gahanna Jefferson Schools increased security with added patrols and personnel were told to be on the lookout.

The goal is to let students know that it is safe to come back to school.

"We're making all our conversations age appropriate," Gahanna Jefferson Superintendent Francis Scurci said. "The message that's going out at the high school is different than the one that went out to the elementary."

Some parents in the district have requested that their children not be exposed to the conversation.

"One thing that we're not doing is that we're not certainly discussing this with our elementary kids," Scurci said.

District officials feel elementary aged kids are not prepared to handle the details of what happened in Connecticut.

Officials said that they would make broad statements to let students know they are safe and that the adults are there to help and answer questions.

The superintendent sent out two letters to parents, including one letting them know that they were taking action.

In Westerville, police officers visited elementary schools Monday in an effort to reassure children that it was okay to come to school.

The officers were expected to encourage dialogue about the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Parent Nancy Paiewonsky said that her daughter had the victims on her mind and in her heart.

“She made a heart with all the names, and she put it in her bedroom,” Paiewonsky said.

In Bexley, Superintendent Michael Johnson said that he was preparing to see changes at the schools.

Johnson expected to see more parents walking their children into elementary schools, as they strive toward normalcy lost on Dec. 14.

"They can expect that the school district is going to do all it can to make their life safe and even make it safer by incorporating other safety measures in the future," Johnson said.

Worthington officials planned to meet with teachers and safety officers to review their own safety plans.

Olentangy Local Schools officials informed parents that administrators met first thing Monday morning to put together a plan to help children when and if it is needed.

Olentangy also had extra police presence outside of its school on Monday.

Most school districts sent letters to parents on Friday and were expected to send another Monday, encouraging them to keep open dialogues with their children.

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