Fire resue squad help secure the area following a shooting December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. At least 26 people, including 20 young children, were killed when a gunman assaulted the school and another body was found dead at a second linked crime scene, police said. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The following are statements from individuals and organizations locally and nationally reacting to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.:
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would -- as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
"The majority of those who died today were children -- beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers -- men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
"So our hearts are broken today -- for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost. Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago -- these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
"This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we'll tell them that we love them, and we'll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as President to help.
-President Barack Obama (Click here to read the President's full remarks)
"National PTA feels enormous sympathy for the students, families and communities affected by the horrendous tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., today. Our country has experienced far too many of these tragedies, and we all share in the sense of loss and hurt.
"School and child safety is one of PTA's core tenets as it is crucial to effective learning. A traumatic event like that of this morning affects the entire community, especially the families and friends of the victims. This can be an emotional time, and it's important for people affected by this tragedy to connect with and support each other.
"National PTA has many resources to assist students, families, schools and PTAs in coping with school violence. The resources are downloadable at PTA.org/SchoolViolence.
"National PTA believes the protection of children in all school settings is a fundamental right and has made this the utmost priority for our work and advocacy."
-National PTA President Betsy Landers
"My heart breaks for the victims and families impacted by the senseless act of violence today in Newtown, Connecticut. In a world that can at times be defined by its darkness, children are a reminder of what is good, cheerful and beautiful about life.
"An act of violence against these defenseless young people, as well as the faculty and staff who dedicate themselves daily to educating and caring for them, is a deed of unconscionable evil. I pray that God holds Newtown close tonight as all of her residents come to terms with this tragedy."
-Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio
"The Episcopal community is shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts go out to the students, faculty, parents and the administration at the school.
"Unfortunately, we're reminded nearly every day how devastating random violence can be, and how close to home it can come," said Charles F. Zimmer, Episcopal's Acting Head of School. "We know there are difficult days ahead for this community. We send them our deepest sympathy and support."
Episcopal's strength and its resiliency, and the goodwill of our surrounding community, are what continue to propel us forward as an institution that celebrates Christian values and academic excellence.
-Meg Sacks, spokesperson for Episcopal High School of Jacksonville
"As the parents of four daughters, Susan and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims of today's tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
"May God be with them during this time of incredible sadness. Although answers will be sought to explain such a senseless and evil act, we must honor the light of the innocent lives lost by holding our children closer and coming together as a community and a nation."
-U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, II, Florida's 2nd District
First Coast News