The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 14, 2013

Newtown debates future of school where 26 died

— NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A month after a gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school, some Newtown parents say the building should be demolished, while others believe the school should be renovated and the areas where the killings occurred removed.

Talk has turned to the future of the Sandy Hook Elementary School as life slowly begins moving forward in town. Resident at a public meeting Sunday made passionate arguments about whether their kids should ever return to the site of the tragedy.

"I have two children who had everything taken from them," said Audrey Bart, whose children attend the school but weren't injured in the shooting. "The Sandy Hook Elementary School is their school. It is not the world's school. It is not Newtown's school. We cannot pretend it never happened, but I am not prepared to ask my children to run and hide. You can't take away their school."

But fellow Sandy Hook parent Stephanie Carson said she can't imagine ever sending her son back to the building where 20 first-graders and six educators died.

"I know there are children who were there who want to go back," Carson said. "But the reality is, I've been to the new school where the kids are now, and we have to be so careful just walking through the halls. They are still so scared."

The meeting at Newtown High School about the future of Sandy Hook drew about 200 people. A second meeting has been set for Friday. Town officials also are planning private meetings with the victims' families to get their input.

On Monday, the grassroots group Sandy Hook Promise invited victims' family members to a news conference where an initiative to prevent similar tragedies was to be unveiled.

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