Teri Vance

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December 18, 2012
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Carson Middle School students reach out to Sandy Hook victims

Nura Tung, a sixth-grader at Carson Middle School, worries for the loss of innocence among the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 students and teachers were shot and killed during a shooting spree Friday.

"The worst part is the students are only first-graders," said Nura, 11. "They shouldn't even think about school not being safe. It should just be someplace there are adults and where they learn."

Social studies teacher Tiffany Ferguson dedicated her classes Monday to discussing the shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 28 people dead, including the shooter and his mother.

Ferguson began each class with a broadcast on CNN Student News explaining the events.

"I teach social studies," Ferguson said. "We spend one day every week talking about current events. It's important for these kids to have the opportunity to think of others, serve others and promote change."

After the broadcast, she hosted a class discussion about their reactions and what they'd like see change in wake of the shooting.

On Monday, students wrote letters of sympathy to survivors at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"The tragedy was incomprehensible," said Gabe Covington, 11, as he penned his letter. "It was heart breaking. But the children will always be remembered, their hearts and dreams. They are not forgotten."

Angela Cirone, 11, couldn't help but consider the season as one that should be reserved for celebration.

"They probably had presents they were really excited to unwrap," she said. "Christmas is ruined for the families forever."

Today, the students will draft a letter to President Barack Obama, outlining suggestions for a safer school environment.

Students discussed possible ideas Monday, debating the pros and cons of heightened gun control and stricter safety measures at schools, such as metal detectors and bullet-proof windows. They also mulled the best ways to handle mental illness.

Ferguson said it was an important part of the discussion.

"They can be agents for change in their world," she said. "That is something we want them to learn at an early age. I'm so glad they have a voice."

While students weren't sure how to prevent school violence, they want to trust there is a solution.

"It's too sad for words," said Adele Fiegler, 11. "We must hope for better. It shouldn't mean a fear for life just by sending a child to school."

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Dec 19, 2012 05:05AM Published Dec 18, 2012 02:35AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.