ATLANTA, Ga. - As students prepare to head back to school, two mothers from the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn. came to Atlanta to talk school safety Tuesday and Channel 2 Action News was the only crew that sat in on the discussion.
Channel 2's Erin Coleman sat down one-on-one for an exclusive interview on the campus of Georgia Tech with the parents, including one who lost her child in the tragedy.
Michelle Gay is a Sandy Hook elementary mom. Her 7-year-old daughter, Josephine, known as Joey, was one of 20 students who died Dec. 14 when a gunman opened fire inside the school.
"We still keep Joey as the centerpiece to our home and that works for us," Gay said.
Carly Posey's 7-year-old son survived. As the gunman paused to reload his gun, he was one of a handful of students to run past him, out of the classroom.
"He just knew once he started shooting kids that this guy was as bad as bad gets and he thought
'I've got to get out of here,'" Posey said. "He ran out of the building and followed his exact evacuation route that he had practiced with his school, so you go back to that training."
Gay and Posey came to Atlanta to be a part of Fulton County's annual school safety summit. They shared their heartache in a room full of educators, law enforcement, and other public servants.
"It was the darkest, longest night of our lives," said Gay said.
The parents also talked about their plans to turn that pain into change. They've joined other parents to start an organization called "Safe and Sound: A Sandy Hook initiative," in which parents talk to communities around the country about school
"Why is this not the same? Around the country, why is it that some schools have all of the security and some schools, not as much?" Posey said.
"Our kids, our community, our tragedy left us in a place of power we can choose to use that or we can choose to push it under the rug and that's not our choice," said Gay.