DENVER - In light of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that has killed 18 kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School, school officials in Colorado are reminding principals and parents to be extra cautious today.
The superintendent of Douglas County Schools said he has sent a letter to all principals about school safety procedures and told them to be extra cautious and sensitive to student needs today.
Denver Public Schools is bringing in their chief of security to be available for the schools, if necessary. A school spokeswoman said that most DPS students are in class and are still not aware of the shooting, which occurred around 7:30 a.m. MST.
School officials want to maintain a calm and productive atmosphere at the schools today so officials are not telling them, said DPS spokeswoman Kristy Armstrong.
Armstrong said DPS conducted a school safety shooting drill earlier this year involving local police and local hospitals and DPS now has a database of the blueprints for all the schools.
Cherry Creek spokeswoman Tustin Amole said the district's middle schools and high schools on heightened alert. She said the school used their emergency notification system to call all parents in the district around noon notifying them of the situation in Connecticut and telling them how to talk to kids about violence.
The school district is also making additional resources available to parents who need help talking to kids about what happened.
Cherry Creek Schools' phone message to parent's stated: "The safety of students, staff and schools is always of utmost importance.
"All of our schools are on a heightened state of supervision and the police agencies in our district have increased police presence around our schools as a precautionary measure. Neither the police nor the district have received any credible safety concerns regarding any of our schools.
"We encourage you to talk with your child in an age-appropriate way about today's events. Any updates and information about coping with tragic events is available on our website, CherryCreekSchools.org.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy and our attention is focused on ensuring the continued safety of our students, staff, schools and community."
The district website also asked parents to "please limit your child's exposure to television and social media," in wake of the shooting.
Aurora police said it will have extra patrol around all Aurora schools when classes are dismissed for the day.
Pueblo City Schools are on a "secured perimeter status" in response to the shooting.
"The staff of Jeffco Public Schools is heartbroken for the families and the community in Connecticut that have lost innocent lives. Their loss is unfathomable and profound – we hold them in our hearts and prayers," that district said in a written statement. "Please be assured that our staff does everything they can to keep your children safe. Safety precautions are a part of every school day and our staff is always vigilant. We will heighten our awareness even more over the next week and will continue to protect your children while they are in our care."
Columbine School Principal Frank Deangelis will speak to 7NEWS later this afternoon.
"It does put into perspective whatever else we may discuss," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was set to talk about gun control. "And certainly we know here, perhaps more than anyone, when you have a horrific and heartbreaking event like this that, you know, there are no words that can adequately express what people feel. And our thoughts and our prayers are immediately with the families of those who were killed and injured in the shooting."
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting is believed to be the worst elementary school shooting in U.S. history. It is also said to be the 31st school shooting since Columbine High School, which was the worst high school shooting in U.S. history. The Virginia Tech shooting ranks as the deadliest mass shooting.