Monday was the first day back to school for children across the country following the deadly rampage in Connecticut, leaving many parents on edge. School officials are trying to reassure both parents and children about their school's safety, while at the same time, addressing what happened.
"You know, it's scary what went on." While the deadly rampage in Newtown, Connecticut happened hundreds of miles away, it hit close to home for many parents sending their children off to school Monday morning. "We don't want to bring it up to them and scare them," said John Bassaner, the father of two children, "but we're definitely scared to put 'em to school everyday."
"Never wanna let them out of your sight," said Michael Stoehr, holding his pre-schooler close, "but you just gotta go with it."
School officials in Egg Harbor City understand the fears and are doing what they can to reassure both parents and students. "We're not only trying to maintain safety today, we maintain it everyday," said the Superintendent of Schools, John Gilly, III, "and we do the best that we possibly can each and every day that their children are here."
"I also ensured the students that their safety is our priority here," said Jack Griffith, Principal of the Egg Harbor City Community School, "I explained to them, that's why we do drills."
Multiple drills are held every month- something required by law - and even an active-shooter drill is something students and staff practice, just in case the unthinkable happens.
"I'm feeling safe coming to school," said 8th grader, Mario Lima, "knowing that we always practice our drills and everything."
"I feel very safe," said Juliana Snider, "we have teachers looking out for the children."
While school officials are reassuring everyone that safety is their main priority, they're also not shying away from answering questions and talking to students about what happened in Newtown - something that's certainly affected them all. "It struck me to the core," said Gilly.
"The students seem to be OK, they are talking about it," said Griffith, "I think they want to talk about it."
"We're safe when we come here," said Lima.
While many students seem to be coping, many parents say it will take some time before sending their children off to school isn't so scary. "It's just a shame that something like that can happen," said Bassaner, "and thinking about losing my daughter to something - it's just such a tragedy."