Nearly a month after tragedy struck at Sandy Hook Elementary School, students have returned to attend classes in a new building. The rooms have been refurbished to resemble their old classrooms.
While parents were tensed as they said goodbye to their wards on the first day, students were only eager to see their friends. "A lot of them were happy to see their friends they hadn't seen in a while," Monroe police Lt. Keith White, who was part of the large police presence on the campus, told reporters at a press conference. "They were excited about the new school."
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The excitement was evident as attendance on the first day was robust.
Meanwhile, to appease the anxiety of parents, additional security systems have been installed, besides the presence of police personnel in the initial weeks. But this will soon become low-key as the weeks progress, White assured.
"We don't want them to think this is a police state," White was quoted in NBC News. "We want them to know that this is a school and a school first, and that's a place that they are to come to learn, enjoy their friends and grow up.
"We want to move on and let the kids move on, too."
The new Sandy Hook Elementary School is housed in the building that was once Chalk Hill Middle School. But, authorities have managed to transform the new building premises to resemble the old structure by bringing in old desks, cupboards, wall papers, rugs and other furniture. Bags and other personal items that were left behind in the classrooms at Newtown were also brought down to the new premises and stored safely in closets.
These transformations, they believe, will make students comfortable as they try to put the tragedy behind and move on.
Meanwhile, apart from these design changes, several modifications to the infrastructure were also brought in. Because the Chalk Hill was a middle school, which has now been transformed into an elementary school, the bathroom floors had to be raised and paper towel dispensers lowered so that students could use these facilities without hassles.