December 19, 2012

Classes resume in Newtown, except Sandy Hook

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Family and friends react after attending the wake of school shooting victim Victoria Soto, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Stratford, Conn., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Soto, 27, was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Classes resumed Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook. Buses ferrying students to schools were festooned with large green and white ribbons on the front grills, the colors of Sandy Hook. At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, betrayed mixed emotions.

AP

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Unspecified threat forces Newtown school lockdown

A school principal at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school says it has been locked down due to unspecified threats.

Most schools in Newtown opened on Tuesday, four days after a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But in a letter to parents published by WFSB-TV, the principal says students at Head O'Meadow Elementary School should stay home because police were prepared to have the school in lockdown. School officials said the lockdown was normal procedure because some threats were predicted by police.

All other schools in town, except Sandy Hook, opened on Tuesday.

A police dispatcher would not confirm the lockdown.

– The Associated Press

Tensions in the shattered community ran high as the grief of parents and townspeople collided with the crush of media reporting on the shootings and the funerals.

Police walked children to parents waiting in cars to protect them from the cameras. Many parents yelled at reporters to leave their children and the town alone.

At Newtown High School, students in sweat shirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, had mixed reactions. Some waved at or snapped photos of the assembled media horde, while others appeared visibly shaken.

Students said they didn't get much work done Tuesday and spent much of the day talking about the terrible events of last Friday, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza, clad all in black, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary and opened fire on students and staff.

"It's definitely better than just sitting at home watching the news," said sophomore Tate Schwab. "It really hasn't sunk in yet. It feels to me like it hasn't happened."

As for concerns about safety, some students were defiant.

"This is where I feel the most at home," Hickey said. "I feel safer here than anywhere else in the world."

Still, some parents were apprehensive.

Priscilla and Randy Bock, arriving with their 15-year-old special needs son, James, expressed misgivings. "I was not sure we wanted him going," Priscilla Bock said. "I'm a mom. I'm anxious."

"Is there ever a right day? I mean, you just do it, you know, just get them back to school," said Peter Muckell as he took 8-year-old daughter Shannon, a third-grader, to Hawley Elementary.

At one Newtown school, students found some comfort from Ronan, an Australian shepherd therapy dog from Good Dog Foundation in New York.

Owner Lucian Lipinsky took the dog to a fifth-grade science and math class where students were having difficulty coping with the tragedy. Most started smiling immediately.

Lipinsky told the students they could whisper their secrets into Ronan's ear.

"It's pretty amazing how a lot of kids will just go whisper in his ear and tell them their secret, and, of course, he doesn't tell anyone," Lipinsky said. "He's a very good dog."

Authorities say the horrific events of Friday began when Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, at their home, then took her car and some of her guns to the nearby school, where he broke in and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults before shooting himself.

A Connecticut official said the mother, a gun enthusiast who practiced at shooting ranges, was found dead in her pajamas in bed, shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the attack, even as more fragments of Lanza's life emerged.

As a teenager, Lanza was so painfully shy that he would not speak or look at anyone when he came in for a haircut about every six weeks, always accompanied by his mother, said stylists in the Newtown hair salon Lanza frequented.

Cutting Adam Lanza's hair "was a very long half an hour. It was a very uncomfortable situation," stylist Diane Harty said, adding that she never heard his voice.

Another stylist, Jessica Phillips, said Nancy Lanza would give her son directions about what to do and where to go. He would move only "when his mother told him to," said a third stylist, Bob Skuba.

Meanwhile, the tragedy continued to reverberate around America.

(Continued on page 3)

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Additional Photos

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Barbara Wells of Shelton, Conn., holds her daughter Olivia, 3, as she pays her respects Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 at one of the makeshift memorials for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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A makeshift memorial of 27 small and one large American flag stands by the side of Highway 84 near the Newtown, Conn., town line on Monday.

AP

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An ornament for Noah Pozner hangs on a tree at one of the makeshift memorials for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 in Newtown, Conn. Pozner was killed when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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A mourner arrives at the funeral service for 6-year-old Noah Pozner in Fairfield, Conn., on Monday. Pozner was one of 26 people killed in Friday's mass shooting.

AP

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Mourners arrive at the funeral service for 6-year-old Jack Pinto on Monday, in Newtown, Conn. Pinto was one of the 26 people killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on Friday.

AP

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Newtown Police Officer Maryhelen McCarthy places flowers at a makeshift memorial outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church on Sunday in Newtown, Conn.

AP

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A mourner leaves the funeral service of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim, Jack Pinto, 6, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Pinto was killed when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Friday and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

  


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