Baltimore area parents comforted by extra law enforcement presence

Presence helped focus stay positive

TOWSON, Md. - Schools in the Baltimore area had an extra law enforcement officer on-hand Monday. The move was in attempt to comfort parents and students still battling emotions related to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut Friday.

Parents and caregivers dropping children off to school got exactly what was intended from the extra officer – a little comfort on a day that made leaving children at school extremely difficult.

"When I left a child this morning, the mother said, ‘I'll love you forever and ever,' " said nanny Emily Griffin.

Griffin was at Rogers Forge Elementary School Monday. She has friends and family members in Newtown, and she says it is hard to believe that as a result of the tragic incident, 20 innocent children won't be spending the holidays with their families. Griffin said as she walked children to school, she overheard conversations about toys and popsicles. To think that students in Newtown are thinking about much more serious things, is simply shocking.

John Putnam was at Rogers Forge dropping off his 7-year-old son. While he hasn't said much to his boy about the incident in Newtown, he figures it may come up in conversation soon.

Putnam said his approach is to hopefully keep his children focused on school and the holidays. He agreed, having an extra officer at the school Monday was good to see.

"It's always nice to see," he said. "These gentlemen do a lot for us. The bad thing about it, we only see what they do in bad times."

Putnam said seeing the extra officer and reflecting on the events in Newtown are a good reminder that "we're not immune to anything."

Putnam wasn't alone in his thoughts. A common theme among parents at Rogers Forge was focusing on the positive. Caroline Rayburn said having the extra officer there provided a comfort level for parents and students that inhibited that.

"It's definitely reassuring, I feel like, for the children, and the parents, to be able to come here the first day after a tragedy and see actions being taken," she said.

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