By SCOTT MARTINDALE and FERMIN LEAL/ ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Principal Wayne Kelley does not typically stand curbside as parents drop off their children at Garden Grove's Barker Elementary School. But on Monday, Kelley decided he needed to make his presence known.
As a morning parade of cars filed through Barker's parking lot, Kelley received nods and waves from jittery, appreciative parents, he said. Some even approached him to get personal reassurances it was safe to leave their children at Barker, he said.
"Parents seemed anxious; they said, 'Thank you for being out here, Mr. Kelley,'" he recalled. "We're certainly not walking around here in our little world today."
On the first full day of school since Friday's mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 elementary children dead, local school administrators and teachers were grappling with how to reassure parents that schools remained safe – and how best to talk to impressionable youth about the massacre that shattered the Sandy Hook Elementary School community.
"For most of our educators, this unfortunately isn't a new subject and they've had some training about how to have age-appropriate discussions," said Alan Trudell, a spokesman for the Garden Grove Unified School District. "We also respect that some parents don't share this kind of story with their kids."
Local school districts reported they were working full steam ahead Monday to disseminate information to parents about how schools are rehearsing and fine-tuning emergency protocols. Districts also said they were working to explain to parents how they work with law enforcement to assess potential threats, and how they were evaluating what else, if anything, could be done to improve safety. Read more at The Orange County Register