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Area Parents Wrestling With What To Tell, Or Not Tell, Their Children

(Ty Diaz is kissed by his mother Yvette at a memorial down the street from the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. on Sunday.   Credit: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images)

(Ty Diaz is kissed by his mother Yvette at a memorial down the street from the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. on Sunday. Credit: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Some area parents have answered their children’s’ questions about the Connecticut tragedy (see related stories), but others have shielded their kids from the news altogether.

We sampled some reactions in Cherry Hill, NJ, where Lauren Kelley has two daughters, in first and third grade, at the Joyce Kilmer Elementary School.

Kelley says her daughters are aware of the Newtown, Conn. shootings, and she has tried to help them make sense of the senseless.

“They know what’s going on,” Kelley tells KYW Newsradio.  “You try to explain that things happen, but you try and explain at the same time all the people who came to help.”

Kelley says the tragedy is difficult to explain to children.  But you need to reassure them, she says, that while bad things do happen, there are good people in the world, too.

Megan is a mother of two young boys at Kilmer Elementary.  She says she hasn’t brought up the Connecticut shooting for fear of upsetting her children.

But if the topic does come up, she says she’ll be ready.  And she says that school safety drills are already a way of life.

“I told them that the school is prepared, they’re going to keep you protected,” Megan tells KYW Newsradio.  “There are bad people in the (world).  Just like we talk about if somebody was to break into the house.  We go through the routine of what they need to do.  They have to listen to the teacher, (I) talk to them about the security drill, and and then let it go.  I don’t want to dwell on it because it’ll scare them.”

Megan says that so far the shooting hasn’t come up in conversation with her kids. But she’s been talking with other parents about the tragedy.

In Barbara Cohen’s first-grade classrooom at Kilmer, the topic will only come up if one of the kids asks.

“They’re young.  So I wouldn’t bring anything up.  Only if they did.  And I would answer their questions. Because the most important thing is to make them feel comfortable.”

She says she would remind her kids that that’s why they do emergency drills and fire drills: to make sure they are safe. And Cohen says the first thing she would tell her kids is that she would protect them.

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