Wilmington Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton was among those to express her condolences to the families of those impacted by Friday morning's deadly school shooting that rocked a quiet Connecticut town.
"My heart breaks for the community of Newtown," said Benton. "I just can't imagine the sadness and shock."
According to reports, including Newtown Patch, as many as 27 people are dead, including a large number of children after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Early Friday afternoon, Wilmington parents reacted with shock to the news of the shooting.
Benton said that safety is the number one priority in Wilmington Public Schools, and that there is a system wide safety committee that meets each month with police to review and refine the district's plan.
"All schools, including elementary, have monthly drills that include lockdowns as well as evacuations," said Benton. "In addition, we have the doors all locked and everyone has to sign into the buildings before they can reach a classroom."
Wilmington parents may find their children hearing about the tragedy or seeing it on the news and find themselves in a difficult discussion.
For parents seeking guidance on how to address the tragedy with their own children, if it comes up, PBS has an article with flexible suggestions for answering kids' questions about the news.
Wilmington High School principal Eric Tracy originally tweeted out that link and later added, "Give you kids a double hug today! Don't forget 'I love you!'"
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also has a 24-hour hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting "TalkWithUs" to 66746. The hotline is open to U.S. residents who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of a natural or man-made disasters, incidents of mass violence or any other disasters.
Benton said this morning's incident is a harsh reminder that school communities across the nation must always be on high alert to protect their children.
"This certainly tells me that it can happen anywhere," said Benton. "Again, my sympathies (go out) to the Newtown community.