Sandy Hook Elementary School students returned to school today (Thursday) for the first time since the December 14 massacre that left 20 children and six staff members dead. A school in Newtown, Connecticut's neighboring town, Monroe, was renamed Sandy Hook Elementary and welcomed nearly 500 students and staff.
There was an obvious increase in counselors and police on the first day back to school to help students, staff, and parents. Monroe police say they're being careful not to "overburden" the young students with too much security presence. "We want this to be a normal school where they can go and enjoy themselves and learn throughout the day," the LA Times quoted Monroe Police Lt. Keith White as saying. Parents were also permitted to stay in a nearby lecture room in the school for as long as they wished after dropping their children off.
The young children's backpacks, desks, and other items from their original school - which remains a crime scene - were brought over to their new school to help ease the transition. Wednesday students and their parents toured the facility during an open house. One parents described his daughter as being excited to return to her friends, especially in a familiar environment.
Sandy Hook's former principal has come out of retirement to lead the staff and students through what will no doubt be a very difficult period. No decision has been made yet on the future of the original Sandy Hook Elementary School building.