Schools address children's fears after Conn. shooting

Experts say children need reassurance that professionals are doing everything they can to ensure their safety.

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ELMWOOD PARK - Today marked the first day back to school for students across the state after Friday's shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Many students and parents were understandably nervous, anxious and apprehensive about returning to school after the shooting that left 20 small children dead.

In Elmwood Park, extra counselors were on hand today to help address the emotional and psychological impact of Friday's tragedy. Counselors met one-on-one with students from all grades, fostering an open dialogue and answering any questions the students might have had.

According to school social worker Lisa Acinapura, trauma is best treated by talking about it in a calm environment and allowing children to express their fears in a place that is calm and supportive.

Elmwood Park's superintendent used the district's reverse 911 system over the weekend to inform parents about what the district was doing in the wake of the tragedy.

Counselors encourage parents to talk with their children about Friday's events. They recommend that the conversation be driven by the children, and say parents should allow them to ask the questions to see how much they already know.

Most importantly, adults should reassure children that professionals are doing everything they can to keep them safe.

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