Sandy Hook students are being prepared for back to school after the mass shootings that left 20 of their classmates dead. The children won’t return to school for another week, and in the meantime parents, school officials, teachers and the community are doing their best to help the kids heal after this horrific tragedy. I can’t imagine what it must be like for these kids, and their parents, and the teachers who have to resume a normal life after this. It’s heartbreaking to consider, how one can heal, how you can move foreword, how you can ever let your children leave the house again. To me, they are all so terribly brave. I think about being a teacher from Sandy Hook and seeing all these little faces looking up at me and it’s heart-wrenching.
But life must move forward, and the Newtown community has been trying to keep the kids occupied and their minds off the tragedy of December 14th. From Salon.com:
“A couple of the teachers have done pizza parties,” said Janet Robinson, Newtown’s school superintendent. “Another met her kids at the library so they could have a little reading time together. The most important thing has been connecting the students back to their teacher and their classmates.”
The Newtown Youth Academy, a nonprofit sports center, opened its doors to all kids in town at no cost shortly after the shooting. But from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. last week, the building’s turf field, basketball and tennis courts, and giant inflatable obstacle course were reserved just for Sandy Hook Elementary students.
There have been arts and crafts for the smaller kids, as well as face-paintings. Some celebrities, including two members of the Harlem Globetrotters and former University of Connecticut basketball star Tina Charles, also have stopped by to play with the children. UConn’s men’s basketball team was making a trip Thursday.
A decision about what to do with the Sandy Hook elementary school has not been decided yet, but it is unlikely that classes will be held there again. Suggestions to raze the school and create a tribute or memorial park have been discussed. The students of Sandy Hook Elementary will tentatively return to classes Jan. 3 at Chalk Hill School, a vacant middle school about seven miles away. Teachers and parents are working through the holiday season to ensure the school resembles Sandy Hook. Walls will be painted the same colors and even art and posters will be transferred from Sandy Hook. In the meantime, Sandy Hook elementary remains a crime scene, cordoned off by razor wire and chain-link fencing, the windows boarded up.