Educators across New Jersey spent the weekend looking for ways to reassure students as they return to class in the wake of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf says children should know they are safe and in good hands.
First-grade teacher Tina Pflieger in Bergenfield tells The Record newspaper she plans to start the morning sitting on the carpet with her 14 students. She says she's looking forward to hugging them and will talk about the shooting if the students want to. If they don't, she says they'll move on.
A principal in Paterson plans to hold several assemblies for different grade levels.
Principal Rosalie Bespalko says doors at School 4 will be locked between 7 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. and guards will have to open them.
In an effort to ensure their students' safety and calm parents' nerves, school districts across the United States have asked police departments to increase patrols and have sent messages to parents outlining safety plans that they assured them are regularly reviewed and rehearsed.
Some officials refused to discuss plans publicly in detail, but it was clear that vigilance will be high this week at schools everywhere in the aftermath of the second-worst mass shooting in the nation's history: Twenty-six people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, most children ages 6 and 7. The gunman then shot and killed himself.