Sandy Hook kids head to school for first time since attack

The sign post that used to mark the entrance to the Sandy Hook Elementary school, and where a makeshift memorial for victims who died in the December 14 shootings once stood, is seen empty in Newtown, Connecticut.

Hundreds of the children who escaped the harrowing attack on their elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, last month head back to classes on Thursday for the first time since a gunman killed 20 of their schoolmates and six staff members.

School officials are preparing for droves of anxious parents to join the fleet of buses carting children to a disused middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe. Chalk Hill Middle School, closed about a year and half ago, has been hastily refurbished in the three weeks since the December 14 attack and renamed Sandy Hook Elementary School.

With their children’s safety foremost on parents’ and officials’ minds in the wake of the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, the school has been outfitted with a new security system. Monroe Police Department officers will patrol the grounds, and all outside doorways and sidewalks will be under surveillance.

“I think right now we have to make this the safest school in America,” Monroe Police Lieutenant Keith White said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Parents wishing to remain with their kids, ages 5 to 10 in kindergarten through grade 4, will be allowed to accompany them to their classrooms and afterwards may stay in the school’s “lecture room” for as long as they like, according to a memo to parents on the school’s website. Counseling will be available for students and parents at the new school, about 7 miles south of the scene of the shooting.

“I’m not sure I’m ready yet to totally let them go,” Sandy Hook parent Sarah Swansiger said on CNN about her trepidation over the return to school.

When the students return around 9 a.m. Thursday, they will find all of the belongings they left behind when teachers and police evacuated them from Sandy Hook nearly three weeks ago after Adam Lanza burst through the school doors and opened fire.

They will be welcomed to a building that has been decked out as a “Winter Wonderland” with the help of thousands of kids from around the world.

“This does not look like the other elementary school,” Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson said emphatically.

In the meantime, no new details have emerged to explain why the 20-year-old Lanza, armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle, two other firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, targeted the school.

Described by family friends as having Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their home about 5 miles from the school before driving to Sandy Hook and embarking on the massacre, police said. He then took his own life as police were arriving at the school, which had an enrollment of 456.

Police have offered no firm motive for the attack, and state police investigators have said it could be months before they finish their report.

The massacre in Newtown, a rural New England town of 27,000 residents about 70 miles northeast of New York City, stunned the nation, prompting President Barack Obama to call it the worst day of his presidency and reigniting an extensive debate on gun control. Obama has tasked Vice President Joe Biden with assembling a package of gun-control proposals to submit to Congress in the next several weeks.

The National Rifle Association, the most powerful gun-rights lobby in the United States, has rebuffed calls for more stringent firearms restrictions and instead called for armed guards to patrol every public school in the country.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.