LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The pain from the rural community of Benton, KY can be felt three hours away in Jefferson County. Jefferson County Public Schools acting Superintendent Marty Pollio said the district is willing to help the Marshall County High School community in any way they can.
Two students died and 18 others were wounded in a shooting Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School in Benton.
Pollio said on Wednesday that he has spoken with the Marshall County Schools superintendent and JCPS has offered to help with grief/crisis counselors if the Marshall community needs it.
"We're all in this together as educators and we want to help Marshall County in any way we can," Pollio said.
Marshall County Schools were closed on Wednesday. Trent Lovett, Superintendent of Marshall County Schools, posted a message on the district website saying:
"A tragedy beyond words occurred in our community today. I know that, as parents, our greatest fear is something happening to our children, and today that fear became a reality. Our courageous faculty and staff at all levels were outstanding in their response to today's tragedy. We appreciate the quick action of our dedicated first responders. I ask you all as a community to wrap your arms around these families and around these students, as you always have. We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support that we have received from colleagues and communities across the state and the nation. Our children are our future, our greatest gift, and our foremost priority. Hold your children close tonight as you gather together at vigils, churches, and homes and please bear with us as we struggle to return to some sense of normalcy. Together with the community we will begin the long healing process within our schools. God be with us all."
Pollio said students should be given the opportunity to talk and express their feelings.
School shootings are tragically becoming all too common. It's not a matter of if, but when. According to everytownresearch.org, since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America - an average of about one a week.
"We're having all our principals review their policies and procedures to ensure all of those are in place," Pollio said. "We have great policies and procedures in place with drills at every single school on a regular basis."
Officials with the Kentucky Center for School Safety said they are absolutely heartbroken and are offering their support to the Benton community. After 26 children and teachers were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, KCSS made sure every school had an emergency operating plan.
Jon Akers from KCSS said Marshall County High School staff and students cooperate with the state-regulated drills and plans each semester. The center said Marshall County officials were prepared and participated in all state-mandated drills, including lockdowns.
"They have to have four drills during the first thirty days of school, which includes lockdown drill," Akers said. "Then again in January and in February, they are required to save those same drills again and so, they're prepared down there. But unfortunately, if a person comes into a common area in a school bad things can happen."
Dr. Bryan Carter is a child psychologist at Norton Children's Hospital/UofL Pediatrics and encourages parents to keep an open dialogue with children.
"Be in touch with your children so they guide the conversation, find out what they know," Dr. Carter said.
Dr. Carter added that children should feel comfortable reporting concerning behavior and parents should pick up it too.
"Those behaviors change, more withdrawn behavior, social isolation, a child being bullied those are things we ought to tend to make sure that child is safe," Dr. Carter said.
For more information on how to talk to your children about tragedy click or tap here.