For the upper-grade edition, designed for fourth to sixth graders, however, the magazine does plan to do a story. "We can't stick our head in the sand," says Wallis, "The chances are that these children have heard about the event." TFK intends to do an inside piece, not a cover article, and thereby give teachers an opportunity to skip over the story if they wish. The tone of the article will be very carefully controlled. Says Wallis: "We feel it is important not to give a dramatic account of how the attack unfolded. We do not want to glamorize the suspects or encourage kids to think that any aspect of this was cool. Most importantly we want to emphasize that this was an aberration and that in fact violence in the schools is trending down." Informing children, not scaring them, will be the guiding principle. Because knowing the facts is often the least scary thing of all.
It's hard enough to bring bad news to adults. But what do you do when your job is to inform children? TIME For Kids faces the difficult challenge this week as it prepares to tackle the horrific story from Columbine High School. For the younger edition, which reaches down to second grade, "we won't tell the story," says managing editor Claudia Wallis. "Young children need to feel that school is safe and this tragedy would simply be too disturbing for them."