CPS Parents Nervous as Kids Return to School After Connecticut Shooting

By Paul BiascoSerena Dai and Jen Sabella  on December 17, 2012 10:07am  | Updated on December 17, 2012 11:02am

 Cherelle Buckley's daughter, 7-year-old Jakiyah Buckley, began crying while walking into Lincoln Park's Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Monday morning because she was scared after Friday's mass shooting in Connecticut.
Cherelle Buckley's daughter, 7-year-old Jakiyah Buckley, began crying while walking into Lincoln Park's Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Monday morning because she was scared after Friday's mass shooting in Connecticut.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

CHICAGO — Chicago parents watched nervously Monday as their children returned to school after Friday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school left 20 students dead.

As 7-year-old Jakiyah Buckley walked into Lincoln Park's Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, 615 W. Kemper Place, she began to cry, Jakiyah's mother, Cherelle Buckley said.

"She was just scared. She said, 'What if he comes in to school?'" Cherelle Buckley said. "I said, 'You don't have to worry about that. He's dead.'"

Buckley said her daughter was asking her about the shooting on Friday and couldn't understand why someone would do that.

On Friday afternoon, CPS sent out a letter to principals reminding them to be "vigilant and prepared" by reviewing the school's emergency management plan. Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett ensured parents that the school district takes school safety seriously.

"It is with immense sadness that I extend condolences to the families and loved ones of those affected by this incomprehensible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary," Byrd-Bennett said in a statement. "The safety and protection of our students is of the utmost importance to our school principals, teachers, staff and administrators and is a responsibility the District takes seriously. CPS stands with our school family in Newtown, Connecticut, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time."

Lakeview mom Amy Coleman, whose daughter Samantha is in preschool at Horace Greeley Elementary School at 832 W. Sheridan Road, was "in tears" as she watched news on the shooting. But Coleman is not worried about her daughter's safety at Horace Greeley.

"It was one incident at one school, very far away," she said.

Rogers Park mom Claudia Gonzales, 30, said she was "scared" as she dropped off her son at Jordan Community School Monday.

"I don't feel as safe as before," she said.

In a statement, CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said additional grief counselors will be available to students Monday and teams with the CPS Office of Safety and Security are visiting schools "to ensure that they have the support they need."

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