Updated: Monday, 17 Dec 2012, 7:36 PM EST
Published : Monday, 17 Dec 2012, 7:23 PM EST
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) -- Long time educators tell News 8 today was by far the hardest day on the job. Especially, teachers at the elementary level, instructing children in the age range of the innocent victims.
News 8 has been e-mailed by almost every school district saying police presence is increased, and teachers need to keep the school day as normal as possible, with a strong support system in place.
A teacher and principal in Middletown shared their plan with us.
Counting, coloring and eating cookies...it's a typical school day in Mrs. Smith's first-grade class at Snow Elementary.
"The teachers and I are just committed to the children being happy and feeling safe," Jim Gaudreau the Snow Elementary Principal said.
Especially, after one of the worst school tragedies in history just three days ago.
"I had a lot of hugs today when they came in. They need to be nurtured. No one said anything, it's been very positive in the classroom," Lisa Smith said.
That's the way the Middletown School District, and others want to keep it at the elementary level, unless a student specifically asks questions about the six staff members and 20 children who were victim's of this ugly scene at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"There's been a couple of children who've heard from their parents or saw on tv about some of the tragedy so they wanted us to talk to them a little bit and we were able to reassure them that the school is safe, and we're taking every precaution, that the children are our number 1 priority," Gaudreau said.
Principal Gaudreau says in these cases students have been pulled aside and talked to at length. Grief counselors, school nurses, and psychologists are there as well to help.
"I think the best thing to do is give them a hug, tell them that we love them," Gaudreau said.
It's the endless hugs and precious, young faces, that have helped Mrs. Smith and other staff members get through a day they've feared facing all weekend long.
"Before I came, I was more emotional and upset just watching everything, just feeling that feeling like any teacher, it could happen to us. Our hearts are just breaking for that school system and how they can recover and move on," Smith said.