The first Newtown funerals take place
Mourners in Newtown, Conn., headed for the first two of 20 funerals of schoolchildren massacred in their classroom as the rest of the nation anxiously sent children back to school Monday with tightened security.
Within hours of the school day starting, lockdowns were declared in nearby Connecticut and New York towns. In New Jersey, one high school’s morning announcements included an added warning not to let strangers into the building.
Newtown’s schools remained closed yesterday, the first academic day since the 20-year-old gunman claimed 28 lives, including his mother’s and his own.
Tiny caskets marked the first wave of funerals for the 20 children and six adults killed in the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old, will be laid to rest on Monday afternoon.
Their funerals come a day after President Barack Obama visited Newtown to comfort the families. Obama’s remarks were heralded on Monday morning by relatives of teacher Victoria Soto, 27, who was killed as she tried to protect her first-grade students.
“He really made us feel like she really was a hero and that everyone should know it,” her brother, Carlos Soto, told “CBS This Morning.”
All the dead children were 6 or 7 years old. The school principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school psychologist and four teachers were also gunned down.
Noah was the youngest victim of rampage, and his twin sister, Arielle, escaped unhurt. The family’s rabbi has said he encouraged Noah’s mother to focus on her other four children amid the grief.
Jack was a wrestler who loved sports. The New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz played Sunday’s football game with the boy’s name written all over his cleats and gloves.
School scares force some into lockdown mode
Cautious educators and police locked down schools at the first hint of trouble yesterday as nervous parents sent their kids back to school for the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Educators fearful of “copycats” or troublemakers who might phone in empty threats grappled with how to respond and whether to discuss Friday’s shootings with children.
Safety was balanced against concerns over frightening children unnecessarily. Politicians debated whether to fortify schools with armed guards.
At least three school districts near Newtown went into lockdown yesterday after a citizen reported a “suspicious person” at a train station near an elementary school in Ridgefield, about 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The lockdown was lifted about two hours later.
Schools remained closed in Newtown as faculty members met to decide when they would open again. To keep children occupied on a drizzling Monday, youth sports groups set up an indoor field day with arts and crafts, athletics and board games.