ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – The tragedy in Newtown is leaving some parents questioning the safety in schools.
School officials in Berrien County spent the weekend reviewing security plans and preparing for the "psychological toll" the Newtown shooting may have on students and teachers.
Schools in Berrien County, Mich. and St. Joseph County, Ind. have counselors available to students but say they aren't fielding too many questions, especially among younger kids.
But WSBT did talk to some older students who say the tragedy is very much on their minds.
The sounds of laughter and fun could be heard on the playground outside EP Clarke Elementary School in St. Joseph.
For most students, Monday was just another normal day at school.
However, their morning started out with a moment of silence for those killed in the Newtown school massacre.
The school, along with most others, are flying their flags at half-staff.
Teachers there have been instructed to not discuss the tragedy with students, but if the topic is brought up to acknowledge it and assure the children great lengths are taken to keep them safe.
"It's business as usual, which is what we wanted to do, because all the research says the best thing for the kids in this situation is normal, normal routines," says St. Joseph Schools Superintendent Ann Cardon.
Cardon says they have 4 counselors in the district if a student needs additional help.
"I've been talking with all the building principals, and things have been going very well, very few questions by the kids," added Cardon.
At St. Joseph High School Monday morning, administrators reviewed lockdown procedures with older students.
"We turn all the lights off; we have to be really quiet," said 17-year old senior Isabel Knuth.
Knuth says she and her friends have been discussing the tragedy in the hallways.
"Just how sad it was," explains Knuth. "We want talk about it, the stories, but it's also really hard to talk about."
St. Joe senior Nicole Campbell says it's on the minds of most students.
"Just how horrible it is and how scary it is that that happened."
Campbell says when they got to school Monday morning, students were instructed of policy changes at the school and that the doors students could go in and out of were limited.
Penn-Harris-Madison Schools also posted a special message on their website about their reaction to the shooting, assuring parents "teachers and administrators will closely monitor students in the coming days."
Cardon says they too plan on being vigilant in the days and weeks to come to make sure kids are protected but still allowed to be kids.
"We can't create a fortress," said Cardon. "Our schools aren't fortresses and this is a very rare occurrence."
In early January, Cardon and the schools' Emergency Response Team will meet with local law enforcement to carefully review the district's security plans.
Superintendent Cardon has been fielding suggestions from concerned parents, everything from having security guards at each school to arming school principals.
Many students may come home with questions about the shooting after hearing other students talk about it at lunch or at recess.
Because of that, the St. Joseph School District and P-H-M Schools have posted tips on their websites for discussing the tragedy with students.
The talking points come from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the Univeristy Behavioral HealthCare and the National Association of School Psychologists.
Professionals say one of the most important things is to listen to your child's questions and let those be your guide as to how much information you should provide.