Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sandy Hook kids back in class in different school

MONROE, Conn. — For her son's first day of school since last month's massacre at his Sandy Hook Elementary, Sarah Caron tried to make Thursday as normal as possible. She made his favorite pancakes, and she walked the second-grader to the top of the driveway for the school bus.

But it was harder than usual to say goodbye.

"I hugged him a lot longer than normal, until he said, 'Mommy, please,' " she said. "And then he got on the bus, and he was okay."

Her 7-year-old son, William, was among more than 400 students who escaped a gunman's rampage that killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook on Dec. 14. On Thursday, the returning students settled in at their old, familiar desks but in a different school in a different town.

Returning students, teachers and administrators were met by a large police presence outside their new school in the neighboring town of Monroe, where a middle school that had been shuttered for nearly two years was overhauled and renamed as their old school. Several officers guarded the entrance and checked IDs of parents dropping off children.

Monroe police Lt. Keith White said attendance was very good and the children were getting back to "business as usual."

"A lot of them were happy to see their friends they hadn't seen in a while," he said.

William's classroom had been across the hall from a first-grade room where children and teacher Victoria Soto died, and he had been nervous about going back to school, Caron said. But an open house Wednesday at the school eased some of his fears.

"They didn't talk about what happened at all," she said. "They went in, met up with their teachers, had a little circle time and it was just about trying to get them back into school."

Most of the students arrived at the new school in Monroe by bus, something school officials had suggested to help them get back into a familiar routine.

Nick Phelps, who lives a few blocks from the original Sandy Hook school, said his first-grader and third-grader are excited about the new school because it means a longer bus ride to Monroe, about 7 miles away.

He was there when the bus brought them home.

"I was never so excited to see my children and, certainly, to see my children get off the bus. There was a shared joy," he said.

About 80 parents attended an assembly Thursday with school and police officials, who fielded questions about security and activities planned for their children. White said security will remain at a high level for now and will be re-evaluated each week.

Comments

AP Top News at 8:58 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 8:58 a.m. EST
Updated: 3 minutes ago

Police: Woman tells of body in her home, leads them on chase

Police in New Hampshire say a woman told them a man was fatally shot and was in her home, but then led them on a chase into Massachusetts and back before she was arrested
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Russia marks 75 years since breaking Nazi siege of Leningrad

Russia marks 75 years since breaking Nazi siege of Leningrad

President Vladimir Putin is attending events to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the break of Nazi's siege of Leningrad
Updated: 4 minutes ago

Spain police arrest man accused of stabbing Atletico fan

Spanish police say they have arrested a man suspected of stabbing an Atletico Madrid fan before a Copa del Rey match
Updated: 4 minutes ago
British actor Peter Wyngarde dies in London hospital aged 90

British actor Peter Wyngarde dies in London hospital aged 90

Longtime British television star Peter Wyngarde has died
Updated: 9 minutes ago
The Latest: Roads still dangerous in South Carolina

The Latest: Roads still dangerous in South Carolina

The snow has moved out of South Carolina but officials say driving conditions are still dangerous
Updated: 11 minutes ago
The Latest: Pope marries couple on papal plane in Chile

The Latest: Pope marries couple on papal plane in Chile

Pope Francis has performed the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying two flight attendants on a flight in Chile
Updated: 12 minutes ago
The Latest: Winter storm causes travel chaos in Germany

The Latest: Winter storm causes travel chaos in Germany

Several people have been injured in weather-related accidents in western Germany and air traffic has been suspended at the Cologne-Bonn airport as a winter storm with high winds lashes western Europe
Updated: 13 minutes ago

FAA: Helicopter with 6 aboard crashes in northern New Mexico

Authorities say a helicopter has crashed in rural northern New Mexico near the Colorado line
Updated: 17 minutes ago
In Hernando, overnight cold ‘really sets us on our heels,’ farmer says

In Hernando, overnight cold ‘really sets us on our heels,’ farmer says

BROOKSVILLE — Farmers in Hernando County on Thursday woke up to the newly familiar sight of frost covering their crops.Temperatures took a dive overnight Wednesday, reaching into the low 20s near Brooksville, forcing a handful of local farms to brace...
Updated: 20 minutes ago