Sandy Hook elementary

The day after one of the worst mass murders in the nation's history, Americans are learning more about Friday's horrific attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults lying dead.

Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.

When acts of violence against children become national news, it's natural for kids to worry and wonder what it means for them.

So amid the coverage of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., that have claimed the lives of 20 schoolchildren, what should parents do for their kids?

Even as Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., suggests that more could be done, the whole culture of school security has undergone a revolution since the 1999 Columbine school shooting, experts say.

"Schools are far more secure than they were at the time of Columbine," says Paul Timm, president of RETA Security Inc., a school security consultancy.

For one, he says, "They keep most exterior doors secured, which is something they didn't pay much attention to before."

The nation watched in horror Friday as the scope of a tragedy in Newtown, Conn., became clear. As a visibly upset President Obama said at midafternoon, "our hearts are broken."