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UPDATE: Connecticut School Shooting: Police News Conference, Tips for Parents

Twenty children, some only five years old, died at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday morning.

The Latest

At a news conference Saturday, investigators in Connecticut said they are working hard to establish a motive for Friday's mass murder at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown Connecticut.

Police said a man, armed with two 9 mm handguns and a rifle, shot and killed 20 children and six adults, before taking his own life.

Patch has a team of reporters in Newtown. Click here for the latest on the investigation, the victims, and how you can help that community cope. 

Talking to Your Children

Prior to holding elected office, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) had a career in the mental health field—specializing in child psychology. Murphy says that hearing about an event as traumatic and horrific as the Connecticut elementary school shooting may affect children and parents far away from where the event occurred because it makes everyone feel a little less safe.  

"Don’t ignore it," said Murphy. "It’s better to discuss it with children and for parents to discuss with each other. Over the coming days, many parents and children will be affected by the horrific level of the events. While some may be far away geographically, tragic events can hit very close to home emotionally. If your children are exhibiting signs of distress, please don’t ignore it.”

Murphy shared 10 suggestions to help adults reassure and comfort children during this difficult and confusing time:

  1. Ask your child what he/she heard about the incident.
  2. Listen to their concerns and emotions.
  3. Answer their questions with age-appropriate information.
  4. Support, comfort and reassure them of their safety at home and school.
  5. Observe/watch for symptoms of problems: appetite, sleep, worries, aggression, anger and sadness.
  6. Protect them from other media exposure and information that creates more fear and problems.
  7. Call for other professional help for your child, if needed.
  8. Review with school personnel how they are handling security and counseling students at school
  9. Pay attention to and take care of your own concerns and worries as a parent.
  10. Keep watch over time as concerns and symptoms may come later.

In the wake of the tragedy, the North Hills School District issued a letter to parents from Superintendent Dr. Patrick J. Mannarino, and discussed district emergency notification procedures and security. You can read more by clicking here. 

Share Your Thoughts

How are you handling all of this with your children? Earlier this week, before the shooting, the Butler School District voted to put retired, armed state troopers in the schools. Would that make you feel safer, as a parent? Share you thoughts on all of this in the comments box below. 

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