Grieving Newtown Reopens Schools After Rampage

Sandy Hook Still Closed as Children Head to Nearby Town

Back to School: A makeshift memorial to the victims of the shooting rampage at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School continued to grow.
getty images
Back to School: A makeshift memorial to the victims of the shooting rampage at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School continued to grow.

By Reuters

Published December 18, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

The schools of Newtown, which stood empty in the wake of a shooting rampage that took 26 of their own, will again ring with the sounds of students and teachers on Tuesday as the bucolic Connecticut town struggles to return to normal.

But among the normal sounds of a school day - teachers reading to children, the scratch of pencil on paper - students will hear new ones, including the murmur of grief counselors and the footsteps of police officers.

Four days after 20-year-old Adam Lanza strode into Sandy Hook Elementary school and gunned down a score of 6- and 7-year-olds, in addition to six faculty and staff, that school will remain closed. It is an active crime scene, with police coming and going past a line of 26 Christmas trees that visitors have decorated with ornaments, stuffed animals and balloons in the school colors of green and white as a memorial to the victims.

The massacre - one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history - shocked Americans, prompting some lawmakers to call for tighter restrictions on guns and causing school administrators around the country to assess their safety protocols.

Newtown police plan to have officers at the six schools scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, trying to offer a sense of security to the students and faculty, many of whom spent the weekend in mourning. Newtown Police Lieutenant George Sinko acknowledged it may be difficult to ease the worries of the roughly 4,700 returning students and their families.

“Obviously, there’s going to be a lot of apprehension. We just had a horrific tragedy. We had babies sent to school that should be safe and they weren’t,” Sinko said. “You can’t help but think … if this could happen again.”

DAY FOR ‘HEALING’

Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais, in an e-mail to parents, said schools in the district would open two hours later than usual, with counselors available to students and their families.

“This is a day to start healing,” Dumais said.

While school officials have not yet decided when Sandy Hook students will resume their studies, the building that they will move into - the unused Chalk Hill School in the nearby town of Monroe - already showed signs of preparation.

On a fence opposite the building, a green sign with white lettering proclaimed “Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary!”

In Washington, the massacre prompted U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday to call a White House meeting with advisors to discuss ways to respond, a first step toward fulfilling the pledge he made a day earlier in Newtown. Th e administration’s plans to curb violence include but are not limited to gun-control measures, a spokesman said.

Police have warned it could take months for them to finish their investigation into the attack, which started when Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, at home, before driving to the school armed with a Bushmaster AR 15 rifle and two handguns. After shooting 26 people at the school, he turned his gun on himself when he heard police approaching.

In total, 28 people died in the incident.

Many of the students and faculty of Sandy Hook and its neighbors will still have funerals to attend.

The first two victims, Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6, were buried on Monday, with the boys’ bodies laid out in white coffins. Jack was dressed in a New York Giants jersey with his favorite player’s number, while mourners left a teddy bear outside Noah’s service.

More funerals were expected on Tuesday, for victims including James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos. Each was 6 years old.

“It’s still not real that my little girl, who was so full of life and who wants a horse so badly and who’s going to get cowgirl boots for Christmas isn’t coming home,” Krista Rekos, Jessica’s mother, told ABC News on Monday.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.