WILLIAMSPORT — The school massacre in Connecticut is on the minds of parents in Lycoming County.
Word of the mass shooting reached many before school let out in Williamsport.
Andrew Jackson Elementary School is about the same size as Sandy Hook Elementary where those horrific events unfolded Friday.
For school administrators in Williamsport and parents too, the news is just too hard to take.
Just a couple of hours away from the tragic scene in Newtown, Connecticut the school day at Jackson Elementary went on like normal.
Kids played at recess and teachers looked on while the rest of the country learned more about the unimaginable violence that played out at a school much like this one.
“Oh yeah, it’s devastating, I couldn’t even imagine. That’d be absolutely heart wrenching,” said Nikol Meixel who has a son in kindergarten.
Parents of first, second and third graders, even kids in kindergarten came to pick them up and were horrified by what happened at another school full of children.
“You think your kids are safe in schools, you trust them like that, the school can only do so much too. It’d be awful, absolutely devastation,” added Meixel.
“This school here, can happen anywhere, it can happen anywhere,” added Robert Bacon, grandfather to two third graders.
The Williamsport Area School District has five more elementary schools in addition to Jackson Elementary which is located in the Newberry section of the city. At each school, security measures are in place in hopes of preventing something like what happened in Connecticut.
“It’s bad enough when there’s any kind of violence in a community, it’s awful when it’s in a school, even worse in an elementary school,” said David Wright, director of student services for the district.
Each building in the district is locked, according to Wright and visitors have to be screened before they’re allowed in.
No matter the how much talk there is about security, the deadly school shooting affects everyone from principals to teachers and on down.
“No matter what you do, this event will shake you,” said Wright.
Jackson Elementary in Williamsport has about 600 children, according to school officials.
District officials said they are in the process of reworking safety plans for schools in hopes they’re more prepared if something should ever happen.