School shootings: How to talk about it with your kids

Tragedies such as the school shooting in Santa Clarita often force many of us to pause and reflect on school safety in our communities.

"It's best to make sure we're attentive to what the research is telling us in order to make sure that what we're doing is smart and doesn't have unintended consequences," said Santa Clara University psychology professor Thomas Plante.

Each of these instances may also come with concerns about how to address it with children.

RELATED: Santa Clarita, California, high school shooting kills 2, injures 4

"Let them kind of drive the questions," says Plante. "Let them talk about what's on their mind, and then you can kind of reflect and respond to them where they're at."

ABC7 News spoke with officials at San Jose Unified School District who say counselors are available to students who request support. In the event of an emergency, each of their schools is equipped with a two-way radio, which is linked directly to the central office. Students regularly go through emergency drills with faculty and staff.

"The safety of our students will always remain the top priority no matter what," said SJUSD spokeswoman Lili Smith. "We have constant contact with our parents, if needed. We have a parent link, so we ask all parents to go through their student portal (to) make sure their information is correct."

RELATED: Santa Clarita school shooting: Saugus students describe chaotic scene on campus as gunman opens fire

In the wake of the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, the San Jose Police Department launched its "guardian program" to beef up its active shooter response. During the school day, SJPD strategically places officers across the city, whose primary job is to respond to active shooter reports at schools and big scale events.
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