independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

New start for survivors of Sandy Hook massacre

ALMOST three weeks after a massacre left 20 of their fellow pupils dead, the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut returned to the classroom.

There was a new head teacher and a new school building in a different town, but painstaking preparation ensured that the rest of their surroundings were as familiar as possible.

The aim was to make it a "normal day" for the children – their first in a classroom since Adam Lanza murdered their friends and six of their teachers on December 14.

Because Sandy Hook Elementary is still a crime scene, the pupils were moved to the former site of Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, seven miles south of Newtown.

Significant work had been done to ensure a smooth transition. The furniture and the pictures that adorned Sandy Hook have been moved into the new school.

Donna Page, who served as Sandy Hook's head teacher for more than a decade before retiring in 2010, has returned as principal, replacing Dawn Hochsprung, who was among the first victims.

Before an open day held on Wednesday to allow parents and pupils to visit the new school, Mrs Page wrote a message on the school's website which read: "I want parents and families enduring the loss of their precious children to know their loved ones are foremost in our hearts and minds as we move forward."

One parent, Robert Bazuro, said: "We're very happy the kids are going back and we're very thankful for Monroe for everything they've done for us." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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