-- 26 people were killed; 18 of them children -- school communities across the country are reeling at the horrific news.
The tragedy brings to surface everything from allowing teachers to be armed with tasers to implementing strict security details, even at elementary schools. But underlying that is the need to publicly grieve and allow students to grasp what has just happened.
In Peabody, Superintendent of Schools Joe Mastrocola issued a public statement Friday afternoon.
"We are all heartbroken and saddened by this horrific event. We encourage you as parents and caregivers to talk with your children and allow them to express their thoughts and feelings," Mastrocola said. "Children express this in different ways. We need your assistance to make them understand that they are safe, and that you and their community will continue to protect them."
Mastrocola said that starting Monday and lasting throughout the week, school counseling staff at all schools will be available to assist and comfort students.
"From a management perspective, our focus continues to be on safety and we will continue to review our crisis plans and safety measures in all of our schools. This is a time in our country that requires all of us to come together and reassure our children and each other that understanding and community is most important," he said.