Niagara Gazette — Millions around the country returned to school Monday for the first time since a shooter killed 28 people – 20 of them young children – in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Friday.
And each one of them has a concerned parent or two wondering just how safe their school is. Many of them spent extra time with their child Monday, gave them extra hugs and kisses before letting them out of the car or onto the bus.
"They are both safe," Carrie Helms Capps, a mother of two, said on the Gazette Facebook page Monday. "I did give them a little more special attention this morning along with extra hugs and kisses. As they went out the door I watched them walking down the street and said a prayer."
The mother of 11- and 5-year-old sons was joined by many parents in expressing her confidence in the security of the area's schools on the page. And whether in Lewiston-Porter, Niagara-Wheatfield or Niagara Falls, educators and administrators set out to maintain their confidence Monday, while also trying to ensure the day went as normal as any other day for the students.
By all accounts, they were successful.
"We felt it was important to continue our regular routine of school," Lew-Port Superintendent Christopher Roser said. "We felt that was the best course possible. But we also knew we wanted to be reassuring we have safe schools. So we were more than welcoming when our kids came back."
Making sure the children are safe is the key responsibility of the school district, Roser said. And he reiterated the safety protocols in place to ensure no one will repeat the latest mass killing in the United States in Lewiston.
He credits the presence of the Lewiston Police Department and its public showing during both drop off and pick up Monday as signs the district, and the community as a whole, is taking security seriously.