The Sandy Hook Elementary School children whose lives were interrupted by the gunfire of a madman on Dec. 14, are finally heading back to classes tomorrow. Today the kids were welcomed to their new school in neighboring Monroe Conn. by Superintendent Janet Robinson for an orientation day. The Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown sadly claimed the lives of 20 first graders, and six adults when a gunman broke into the school and opened fire with automatic weapons. The new school is the former Chalk Hill School on the Monroe Middle School campus. As the students and teachers arrived, they were greeted with signs on front lawns of homes reading, “Welcome Sandy Hook Elementary School”, and, “Welcome. You are in our prayers”, according to USA Today.
The new school, seven miles and a 15 minute drive away, was repurposed especially for the Newtown Sandy Hook students. Teams of workers, many volunteers, prepped the former middle school with new coats of paint and classroom furniture.
The bathroom floors were even elevated so the smaller elementary school students are able to reach the toilets, reports CBS News. The students' desks, backpacks and other belongings that were left behind after the rampage at Sandy Hook were transferred to the new school to make the kids feel at home.
The new school sits in a rural area of Monroe that is mostly residential in nature. Several police cars sat parked outside the entrance to the school. Schools in Newtown are also still being guarded by local police. The road to Sandy Hook Elementary School remains blocked by police as it has been since the morning of the shooting.
Counselors contend it’s important to get the kids back into a normal routine and for parents and teachers to offer the children “sensitive reassurances”. “We want to get back to teaching and learning” Superintendent Robinson said.
“We will obviously take time out from the academics for any conversations that need to take place, and there will be a lot of support there. All in all, we want the kids to reconnect with their friends and classroom teachers, and I think that's going to be the healthiest thing”, she added.
Superintendent Robinson also said when classes recommence Thursday, the teachers will try to make it as normal a day as possible for the elementary school students.