As news spread across the country about the tragedy that befell a Newtown, Connecticut elmenatary school Friday, District 15 officials and parents of elementary school students in Palatine are reacting to the tragedy.
"This tragedy today made me stop in my tracks. Having a 10-year-old in 5th grade made me think of all the families that have lost someone they love today, and it is just senseless," said Mary Deruz, a D15 parent.
District 15 sent out an official communication to parents in regards to the horrific news.
"In light of today's tragic school shooting in Connecticut, Community Consolidated School District 15 would like express its deepest sympathy for the students, staff, and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School," the release stated.
In light of the incident, parents may wonder how to approach the issue with their children.
"As parents we try and teach our kids what to do with what life brings their way, but how do you explain something that just doesn't make sense," Deruz said.
School officials have provided suggestions on how to communicate information to children about the situation if they are curious and want to talk about it, or even if they don't.
Suggestions include minimizing their exposure to the incident through the media, in addition to making time to talk with them directly about the tragedy- instead of them learning information from other sources, while taking into account their developmental level.
Keeping children physically close to parents to reassure them, spending quality quiet time and maintaining a routine are other ways to ensure they feel safe and secure.
Safety for our children here in Palatine is another issue that hits home as we all hear radio and television reports about this senseless loss of life.
District 15 said over the last several years, a comprehensive emergency crisis plan has been developed, and has included Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Hoffman Estates police departments.
"During the school day, all school doors remain locked. Visitors may only enter the school through the front door and must be let in by school staff," the release stated.
Visitors also are required to provide identification to the front office before they are able to enter main buildings.
This incident has likely touched the hearts and minds of parents near and far to this horrible tragedy, including those in Palatine.
"All I know for sure is that I will hug my son a little tighter tonight (and a lot more kisses for him too!)" Deruz said.
"There are no words to express the sorrow and pain felt for an unimaginable tragedy such as this," said Tim Millar, a District 15 parent and school board president.
"Every parents heart (mine included) bridges the distance between us and goes out to the families who have suffered such a horrible loss. Our community mourns with the Newtown community. Our prayers are with them," Millar said.
"It's a terrible, horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to every person who has been affected by this person's horrific, evil choice," said Camille Burner, also a District 15 parent.
I am your Palatine Patch editor, but also a parent myself, and I can't fathom receiving a call learning that one of my children was in the middle of such a horrifying, life-threatening situation-and for a time as some parents in Connecticut had Friday-to wait to learn their child's fate.
My heart breaks for the families who lost their beloved children.
I hope we can all take a step back, and let our children and all others important to us in our lives, know how much we care about them.
If you would like to share your thoughts in the comments section below, I invite you to.