A mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut Friday morning has sent shockwaves through the nation.
As of Friday afternoon, 20 children and 7 adults were confirmed dead after a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"Any time you hear things like this, it's gut-wrenching, as an educator, as a patent," North Andover Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hutchinson said. "Our hearts go out to the families. I can't even imagine what they're dealing with."
But how does a community prepare for the virtually unimaginable tragedy of a possible mass shooting at an elementary school? Hutchinson said that there isn't really a way to prepare for such a tragedy.
"It's more like avoidance, how do you avoid these types of situations?" he said. "We have all of the safety procedures down, the entry procedures down, evacuation drills on occasion, lock-downs that we practice. But there's only so much you can do to prepare for something like this."
The North Andover School Department has administrators who are part of a team -- along with representatives from the North Andover Police Department -- dedicated to school safety and school emergency response, Hutchinson added.
"They help us to be up-to-date with latest thinking regarding evacuation techniques, responses and preparedness techniques as as well. In the end , you do what we've been told is best practice to do, whcih is by working evry closely with the police."
You can read updates on the tragedy on Newtown Patch.