Berkeley Township Schools Superintendent James D. Roselli's first hint that something was very wrong last Friday came when he received a text during a meeting.
The text was from his brother and sister-in-law, who live in Newtown, Connecticut. It was a simple message.
"The kids are okay," it read.
Their children, fortunately, did not attend Sandy Hook School, but another school in the district.
But Roselli soon learned the terrible news about the massacre at the school. story.
"It was very shocking news," he said. "This society we live in, it's a very sad state of affairs."
Roselli was at the Berkeley Township Elementary School at 7 a.m. this morning, for a meeting with Police Chief Karen T. DiMichele, the principals of the four elementary schools, the crisis management team, and township and fire officials.
They went over the protocol of how to handle the Sandy Hook School killings and handle questions from children still traumatized from Superstorm Sandy.
"We are trying to get out from under that (the storm) and something else hits," Roselli said. "It's really been a stressful few months."
Then the principals of each school went to meet with their staff before the children arrived, he said.
"They have been provided with a list of what they should share with students," Roselli said.
Crisis teams and counselors were on hand during the day to help students deal with the tragedy. Roselli and DiMichele visited each school.
No one gets into a township elementary school without being buzzed in after they have identified themselves. They must check in at the main office and cannot walk the hallways unattended, Roselli said.
Parents must bring identification to school before they are allowed to pick their child, he said.
"We would like to remind you that the safety of our students has been and will continue to be our number one priority," Roselli said in a letter posted on the district website today. "We will continue to review and improve our safety procedures as we have always done in the past."
Roselli, police and township officials will review the district's safety protocols and answer questions from parents at a special meeting slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at the Berkeley Township Elementary School.
"All four of our schools participate in monthly safety drills designed to prepare your child in the event of an actual emergency," the district website states. "These drills teach the children to remain calm, follow directions and the procedures they would need to follow should a dangerous situation occur."
School counselors and members of the crisis team will be available for students, Roselli said.
"...as always, our staff members will be monitoring the children closely," he said on the website. "The daily school routine provides a sense of normalcy for our children that is comforting."
For tips on how to communicate with your child about this situation, please copy and paste the link: http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/talkingviolence.pdf into your browser.