Sandy Hook students will resume classes
Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of the December 14 shootings, is still an active crime scene accessible only to police. Survivors of the shootings will begin classes at the nearby former Chalk Hill Middle School on Thursday.
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Described by family friends as having Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their home about five miles from the school before driving to Sandy Hook and embarking on the massacre, police said. He then took his own life as police were arriving at the school, which had an enrollment of 456 students ages 5 to 10 before the attack.Skip to next paragraph
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Police have offered no firm motive for the attack, and state police investigators have said it could be months before they are in a position to offer a report on it.
The massacre in Newtown, a rural New England town of 27,000 residents about 70 miles northeast of New York City, stunned the nation, prompting President Barack Obama to call it the worst day of his presidency and reigniting an extensive debate on gun control. In response to the attack, the National Rifle Association called for armed guards to patrol every public school in the country.
Armed officers from the Monroe Police Department will be on hand when the pupils arrive on Thursday morning around 9 a.m. at their new school, about 7 miles south of Sandy Hook, which remains an active crime scene and is closed to anyone but police.
The new Sandy Hook school has also been equipped with a new security system, although officials declined to offer details.
"I think right now we have to make this the safest school in America," Monroe Police Lieutenant Keith White said.
A comparable system will also be installed in each of Newtown's other schools shortly, Robinson said in an email to district parents.
"As we enter 2013, we begin the year knowing that we are forever changed," Robinson wrote. "We have an altered sense of security and will continue to grieve for the senseless loss of such precious little ones and their teachers, but we will join together in a new appreciation of what we have and will make something positive emerge from this."
Students will also be introduced to a new principal, Donna Page, because Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung was among the six adults killed in Lanza's attack. Page is a former administrator in Newtown schools who has agreed to serve as interim principal while a permanent successor is sought.
(Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by M.D. Golan and Steve Orlofsky)