Kristin Morrissey doesn’t always go past the end of her driveway to welcome her daughter home.
But after watching details of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut unfold Friday, Morrissey said she “couldn’t wait to get across the street and … give her a hug.”
Morrissey, who serves on the Forsyth County Board of Education, was like many other moms waiting on their children that day.
“We all looked at each other with tears in our eyes and started discussing how we were going to talk about this with our kids,” she said.
In the Friday attacks, a gunman forced his way into the Connecticut school and shot 26 people, including 20 children between the ages 6 of 7, before turning the gun on himself.
As students returned to school Monday, the Forsyth County school system had ensured there was extra security at all its campuses.
According to Jennifer Caracciolo, system spokeswoman, there was “increased patrolling and presence at all schools by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office as well as support from school counselors to provide counseling services for students and staff that are in need.”
“Additionally, [Superintendent Buster Evans] held a school safety meeting first thing [Monday] morning with district staff and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office to discuss additional considerations on how to further our ability to provide for the safest environments possible in our schools,” she said.
Morrissey said she let her youngest daughter, a third-grader, ride the bus like a normal Monday morning, but “did drive up to school because I … heard there would be increased police presence and I wanted to see that.”
Her oldest daughter, a high school freshman, and her friends had heard about the Connecticut shooting through their cell phones Friday at school.
“Everybody knew about it,” Morrissey said. “They were all really shocked and sad. But they seemed to understand it better and were able to deal with it a little better than the younger kids.
“As a parent, I just had to decide at a certain point to turn the TV off. I didn’t let my little one see it on TV at all.”
Morrissey said the school system staff, teachers and parents are doing the best they can to maintain a normal routine leading up to the holiday break, which starts Friday.
And she added that she and other parents likely will spend this time focusing on their children, hugging them often and “appreciating every day that we have.”