In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, Patch asked parents in the Wheaton and Glenmont area how they reacted to the tragic news and how safe they feel sending their children to public schools in Montgomery County.
Frances Frost lives with her husband and four children in the Glenmont area. She contributes to the Local Voices section on Wheaton Patch. Frost wrote the following in an email to Patch on Saturday:
"I was mystified and deeply saddened, moved to tears, when I heard about the shootings in Connecticut. I didn't hear about it until the afternoon, and since then, haven't been able to get a lot of information about it. However, I empathize with the pain of the parents who lost their children. As a mom of 4, I can't imagine a greater loss for a parent such as a senseless act like this that snatches away innocent lives. As for our elementary schools, I feel like my children are relatively safe, although the portables do make me a little nervous. But I realize that no-one can be 100% safe all the time and I pray that every day my children come home safely."
Jean Winegardner writes a weekly White Knuckle Parenting column on Wheaton Patch. Winegardner wrote the following in an email to Patch on Friday:
"I have kids in three different MCPS elementary schools. Two of them have all-locked doors during the day and one has an unlocked door directly by the front office. In general, I have felt as safe in these schools as I think it is possible to feel. That said, I feel that if anyone were determined to get into any of my kids' schools and hurt people, he or she would be able to find a way. Short of guards and metal detectors, it is impossible to make schools completely safe. Even with locked doors and sign-in procedures, I'm pretty sure that a son of a teacher could talk his way into almost any school.
I was horrified when I heard about the shootings in Connecticut. I immediately thought of the little kids and the staff at my own children's schools and imagined how I would feel if it happened there. I cannot imagine the pain and horror that the Sandy Hook community is experiencing right now. My heart goes out to them. I know that teachers and staff at schools love their students and they must be brokenhearted that they couldn't protect some of them, not to mention the pain of losing friends and colleagues. Then I think of those kids. The thought of the mass murder of children is unbelievably horrifying. I have never been so happy to welcome my children off of their school buses. I will definitely be holding them tight this weekend."