LODI (CBS13) — The images and stories from the Texas elementary school shooting are difficult to watch and hear, especially for kids. So how can parents, or teachers, start such a difficult conversation?

It’s a tough conversation to have, but not only is it possible — it’s also critical.

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Second grade Lodi Unified school teacher Kathleen Ellis is the fun teacher who pulls out all the stops to get her kids to laugh while learning, but this week, smiles haven’t been easy.

“How do we make students feel safe after this keeps happening?” Ellis said. “And that makes my job feel like it’s impossible.”

That’s the question teachers and parents have struggled with after being inundated with the horrid details of this week’s school shooting in Texas. Lisa Wunsch, a parent from the Land Park neighborhood, has her own concerns.

“Even dropping my son off at school this morning, just having the idea that this is possible, it’s just things that parents should not have to handle mentally,” she said. “It’s just awful.”

Elk Grove mom Preetika shed tears over the horrid details she had a hard time avoiding online. She’s now struggling over how to talk to her 9-year-old son about it.

“You know, it’s hard. As a parent, you don’t want to say something that’s wrong.  I’m grasping for the right answer,” said Preetika.

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She’s not the only one. Ellis said tragedies like the Texas school shooting are clearly impacting her students.

“They know about it,” Ellis said. “My second grade students, they brought it up to me today. They asked me questions, and it’s difficult.”

But how do you talk to kids about something like this?

Dr. Sheava Zadeh, an educational psychologist with Sacramento Unified, suggests limiting what kids read and see on the news. She says reassuring kids they’re safe is key and making sure you don’t react with panic.  She says if you panic, so will your kids.

“You really want to emphasize that schools are indeed very safe,” Dr. Zadeh said. “There’s a difference between the possibility of something happening and the probability of something happening.”

Ellis said it’s heartbreaking to even have these conversations with her students.

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“But I also feel like it’s our job as teachers to talk to them about these things and make them feel OK,” she said.