Students return to school after shooting

Students return after 26 shot, killed in Sandy Hook shooting

Published On: Dec 17 2012 11:49:20 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 18 2012 07:34:08 AM EST
Students raising flag
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -

A moment of silence was held at schools across South Florida Monday to honor the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Students at Miami Gardens Elementary helped raise the flag to half staff early this morning. School administrators were given discretion on how teachers would address what happened in Newtown, Conn. last week.

School resource officers walked around many public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties before the start of the day. Parents admitted to hugging their children a little longer, but said they felt the schools are safe.

"These things are out of our control, so the only thing I can say is we have to be positive and pray and try not to let the darkness creep in and take over," said Jessica Cowell. "I'm gonna chance it and keep him in school and trust the facility. When we go in there, you have to be buzzed in."

"It's so sad. It's so tragic. It's heart wrenching for any parent," said Julia Kennedy.

"They do have codes here and they are practiced and we do trust that our children are in good hands," said Cheryl Saidi-Johnson.

Crisis counselors were also made available at each school.

Students in Broward County were sent home with a letter on how parents can help talk to their children about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people, including 20 children, were shot and killed.

READ: Broward County letter sent home to parents

Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement Monday, asking school systems to review their emergency plans, saying in part: "...I'm asking Florida school districts to review their emergency procedures and work alongside the Dept. of Education, FDLE and local law enforcement to review and enhance on-campus emergency plans to ensure the safety and well-being of our students."

In 2003, the Florida Department of Education adopted a statewide policy detailing school preparation and response to emergencies and threats of violence. Click here to read those guidelines.

In Miami-Dade County, a moment of silence will be held at schools at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.