Erica Lafferty CNN

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is all too familiar to some residents of Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

One of them was Erica Lafferty’s mother.

“It is just all too familiar and completely devastating. As soon as I heard the news, my mind immediately went back” to the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, she told CNN. “These families in that community are walking into hell and there is definitely a network of people out there who have lived it, who are stepping up to support them … But it’s not going to just go away. Not for the families, not for the community. It’s life-changing. It’s devastating. It’s traumatizing, and every single time it happens, it brings it back like it was yesterday.”

The superintendent of the Newtown, Connecticut, school district offered prayers to the students, families and staff of the Uvalde school community Tuesday, saying she will reach out to the school to offer support during the difficult time.

In a message to staff and families, Superintendent Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue referenced the shooting at Robb Elementary School, noting the “horrific impact on their community.” She also said, out of an abundance of caution, there will be an enhanced police presence all Newtown schools.

“In Newtown, this news resonates with our students, staff, and families in ways many communities might not understand — and hopefully never will,” Rodrigue wrote in the letter. “I plan to alert our counseling teams at each of our schools, and particularly at Newtown High School, to be ready to respond to students who are upset, show signs of struggling with this event, or simply need to talk. In addition, we are working collaboratively with the Newtown Police, and in an abundance of caution there will be an enhanced police presence at all of our schools.”

Lafferty also told CNN about the loss she still experiences.

“I honestly can’t put it into words. There are days where all I hear or smell or see is my mom all around me. There are days I wake up and I can’t remember the sound of her voice or what her laugh sounded like. And I’m not quite sure which side of that is more painful,” she said.

As President Biden is expected to address the nation shortly, Lafferty expects him to promise action but points to the “harsh reality that one person cannot change anything.”

“I hope that we hear encouraging words, but it’s going to take more than thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers haven’t brought my dead mom back in the past near decade. It’s not going to bring back the people killed at the Robb Elementary School today,” she added. 

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