Sandy Hook Parent: 'Just Trying To Survive The Day'

Robert Siegel talks to the parent of a student who attends the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where a mass shooting occurred on Friday.


Well, joining us now is Melissa Makris, whose 10-year-old son Philip is a student at Sandy Hook Elementary. He's all right, and Ms. Makris is on the phone. How did you hear about this today?

MELISSA MAKRIS: I was actually doing some Christmas shopping at the mall and my husband had called me saying that he had heard that there was a shooting in Sandy Hook. And I hopped in the car and he hopped in the car and we headed back to town. And were very, very unaware of the magnitude of what we were walking into, but we knew that we obviously needed to get to our son's school.

SIEGEL: Well, let's fast forward to the point when you actually got to your son. What did he describe to you? What was his morning like?

MAKRIS: Well, he was at gym class and he said that he heard loud noises, loud voices. He heard snapping, is what he described, because, of course, he's never heard a gun. And he said that the gym teachers scooted them right away from the doors and into a corner and they had to sit there very, very quietly. And some policemen came in and said that they were going to get out of the building and they needed to run and they needed to run fast to the fire station. And he said that's exactly what he did.

SIEGEL: And how is he? I mean, this is something that one would hope never to live through, least of all at age 10. How is he handling it?

MAKRIS: You know, he was, of course, very scared. But he, at this point, we have not told him the magnitude of what has happened at his school. One of his most beloved teachers was shot and we're still awaiting on how she is. He adored the principal. It's a place that he loved.

SIEGEL: And the principal was also shot.

MAKRIS: Absolutely. So, we're just - he's with friends right now watching a movie and just kind of be together. But we need to sit him down tomorrow or the next day and let him know that some really bad things happened at his school. But he felt very safe at the firehouse. His teacher did a phenomenal job making him feel safe and he's been with us all day. So, you know, he thought it was kind of cool to see a SWAT team. So, you know, from a 10-year-old's point of view, he knew he was OK and that he was safe, but he doesn't understand what has really happened.

SIEGEL: And just briefly, have you spoken with other parents to try to coordinate some kind of strategy for dealing with this with your children?

MAKRIS: You know, we're all kind of just crying because now we're learning about families right in our neighborhood that have lost their children. So, we're just kind of trying to survive the day and just hug our kids a lot and then we'll figure out how to cope and recover and walk them through this very, very scary journey.

SIEGEL: Well, Ms. Makris, thank you very much for talking with us, finding time to speak with us.

MAKRIS: Oh, it was my pleasure, Robert. Thank you very much.

SIEGEL: You betcha. It's Melissa Makris. Her son Philip, 10 years old, was a student who, as you heard, was in gym class at Sandy Hook Elementary School when all this began.

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