Two of the young children shot in the Manchester attack Wednesday went to school in neighboring Winchester. Classes were canceled Wednesday during the manhunt but, school re-opened Thursday for everyone except pre-K students. Many children are having a hard time coping with the tragedy.
Five-year-old Nolan Ralston's cubbie at Winchester Early Learning Center is empty Thursday, instead, a vase of flowers put there in remembrance.
"He had a very nice smile and was very popular, especially with the other little girls in class," said Superintendent David Roberts.
One day after a deadly mass shooting in Manchester, Roberts is now dealing with a district full of mixed emotions. He's now bringing in local ministers and grievance counselors.
"We are trying to provide some help for parents on how you talk about death with kids of that age," said Roberts.
One of the local ministers is Dan Reihing with First Christian Church. Reihing says he's had kids all the way up to 8th grade coming in asking for help.
"You think kids take a tragedy like this and kind of gloss over it and they didn't," said Reihing. "It took them right to the soul of their heart."
This was especially difficult for kids who lived close to where the tragedy happened as Reihing recalls a conversation with one fearful six year old.
"She said to her mother, 'Mommy is somebody going to come kick our door in and shoot us tonight?' That's hard thing for a little 6 year old to have to process in her life," explained Reihing.
Even with the heartbreak and confusion that usually follows a horrific event, Reihing says talking with kids is sometimes the best medicine.
"Help them understand that bad things happen but, that should not color what they do and they should not live in fear," said Reihing.
School officials say counselors will be on hand for as long as need be as the school and surrounding towns continue to recover.
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