EL PASO, Texas - As school children prepare for Christmas break, many of them have been distracted by the fallout from the mass shooting in Connecticut.
Among the more than two dozen people killed were 20 elementary students.
Shortly after, the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza took his own life.
The tragedy has sparked nationwide threats to schools, even here in the borderland, causing more and more parents to worry about campus safety.
In response to those concerns from parents of area schools, the Ysleta Independent School District announced an early release day for Friday.
On Wednesday, district officials sent notices home to parents of the almost last-minute decision.
"I think it causes more of a panic," said Valerie Vasquez. Her 7 year old son is a student at Thomas Manor Elementary School in El Paso's Lower Valley.
Vasquez said she knows parents who kept their children at home in recent days because of growing fears.
Campuses will remain on lockdown Friday.
"Kids wonder why they have to stay inside when they are used going outside for P.E., playing basketball, instead they are indoors all day. We have to think about how they feel," said Vasquez.
ABC-7 spoke with the executive director of the Children's Grief Center, Laura Olague.
Olague said this is a time when parents should talk to their children about the tragedy in Connecticut when they feel it is appropriate.
"Children takes cues from their parents. If they see that mom and dad are upset or emotional, kids take that with them. It scares them too," said Olague.
YISD administrators have reassured parents extra security at all campuses with the assistance of the El Paso Police Department.
While schools remain on lockdown until further notice, all exterior doors with exception of the main entrance will remain locked.
All physical education classes and recess will be held inside.
Officials say counselors remain available for students at all times.