MEMPHIS, TN— Here in the Mid-South, parents are on edge after an elementary school massacre took place Friday morning in Newtown, Connecticut. Authorities say a 20-year-old gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
When some Memphis parents first heard the news they took their children out of school early. Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools want to reassure parents they have several safety precautions to keep your little ones safe. Parents say children should never witness or become victims of any kind of tragedy.
"Here it is Christmas is coming up and these mommas are going to have to put their babies in the ground, it's just unthinkable,” said a Memphis parent Stacey Harbison.
Police say some of the victims in Connecticut were as young as 5 years old
"They're babies. They're not even in high school, even that's bad but the little babies oh my God,” said Harbison.
That mass school shooting shook many Memphis parents to the core.
"I basically started crying for the parents. The babies were just innocent, those were just innocent children,” said a mother Biolet Cannon who picked up her 10 year old daughter at Downtown Elementary School.
"Today one of her auntie just called her at the school to make sure she's alright,” said another Memphis parent Abid Abdulah who has a 7 year old daughter in a elementary school.
Parents never want to think their children are in the line of gunfire while at school but say it's become more common.
“You're always hearing about all these shootings going on in school. I wouldn't even want to send my kid to school anymore,” said Harbison. “I’m surprised it hasn't happened in Memphis with all the violence that goes on here, like cops being shot today.”
Memphis City and Shelby County Schools want to reassure parents their kids are safe. Both districts say there are security cameras at all the entrances, plus there are school security guards, MPD officers, and deputies assigned to schools. Officers also use metal detectors at Memphis City Schools. Even with those precautions, parents say anything can happen.
“Now a days you really just never, never know,” said Cannon. “My prayers go out to the families in Connecticut."
Some things MCS want parents to consider when they do talk about tragedies like today with their young children: tell them the truth but assure your child is safe, comfort them, and let them know it is ok to feel upset.