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!
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • 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.