(ABC News) -- Two protective fathers on opposite sides of the country donned their uniforms -- one military, one police -- for off-duty appearances as they accompanied their children to school and stood guard outside the school building this week to help them and other students feel safe.
Maryland police officer Frankie Stephens, 30, decided on Monday that he would accompany his daughter on her first day back at school since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six staff members were fatally gunned down last Friday.
Monday was Stephens' day off, and, dressed in his Cecil County Sheriff's Office uniform, he drove his daughter, 7-year-old Ava Stephens, to Perryville Elementary School in his patrol car.
"Initially, he planned to go and hang out in the parking lot for a little bit, but he decided to hang out and go in at lunchtime and so he had lunch with the first- and second-graders," Stephens' wife, Christie Stephens, said.
"We felt completely helpless when we heard about what had happened [in Connecticut], and here we are sending our kids back to school two days later. He wanted her to get there safely, so he went and he gave his business card to her teacher and the principal. It made us feel better," Christie Stephens added.
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