IPS preps for kids' questions, concerns about Newtown school shooting

Teachers, counselors ready to address questions

INDIANAPOLIS - Following Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Conn., many Hoosier parents had a hard time sending their kids to school come Monday morning.

The school day came and went without issue, but Indianapolis Public Schools was prepared for inquisitive children who would want answers about Newtown and their own safety.

"We know that not only are they going to have questions today, this is going to remain in the news for the better part of a week," said IPS spokesman John Althardt. "We have everyone being sensitive to our kids and making sure if there are potential concerns they are addressed immediately."

Parents like Cathleen Williams allowed their children to return to school, confident that they would be safe. 

"I don't have any reservations," Williams said. "School 15 does a very good job of locking down their school. You have to enter with a button at the door. I feel pretty safe with my kids going to school."

The PTA president at School 14, Amy Watts, echoed that confidence. 

"I'm happy with my school," Watts said. "I can't speak about any other IPS school, but my school I'm satisfied. The secretary and the staff are diligent about checking who's coming through the doors and checking IDs. I'm very satisfied with my school. "

IPS has a 66-person police department and does three intruder drills every school year. Those efforts are solid, but one thing people are talking about in the wake of the Connecticut tragedy is the heroism of the teachers and staff.

"Teachers are willing to sacrifice and sacrifice their lives to step between their children and a bullet," said Nate Schnellenberger, with the Indiana State Teachers Association. "It goes that far. It's deep-seated in teachers."

IPS said teachers and counselors will be available to address students' questions and concerns whenever they come up.

To help parents address their children's concerns, the Indianapolis Public Library has compiled a web page of resources, including articles, videos and books parents can read with their children. 

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