Newtown Kids Head to 'Safest School in America'

Superintendent seeks 'normal' day
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2013 7:57 AM CST

(Newser) – It's the first day back at Sandy Hook Elementary for survivors of last month's shooting—and its new campus, guarded by law enforcement, is "the safest school in America," police tell the AP. Police are checking every car that enters campus, and there are unspecified "security devices" on site, NBC News reports. Still, Superintendent Janet Robinson is trying to make today as "normal" as possible, and says the students will follow their regular schedule. Much work was done on the new school, a former middle school in a neighboring town, to make the students feel at home.

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  • Chalk Hill Middle School was renamed Sandy Hook Elementary School; bathroom floors were raised so its new, younger inhabitants can reach the toilets; and some of the familiar furniture from the old school was brought in, the Hartford Courant notes.
  • That includes their old desks and other items to make the classrooms look the same as the ones students are used to; backpacks, lunchboxes, coats, and other belongings left at the old school were also waiting for students at the new one.
  • Signs welcoming the students were posted along the road leading to the school, and the halls were decorated with snowflakes sent from all over the world and other "cheerful" decor.
  • Former Sandy Hook principal Donna Page, who retired in 2010, returned; her successor, Dawn Hochsprung, died in the shooting.
"The main thing it means ... is that they are getting back to their normal structures and routines," a psychiatrist who counseled survivors tells the Wall Street Journal. It's "the right time for them to essentially to step back on the path." Counselors are on hand at the new school for anyone who needs them. (Read more Sandy Hook Elementary School stories.)

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