New school to re-create the old for Newtown pupils - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

New school to re-create the old for Newtown pupils

Posted: Updated:
A school bus rolls towards a memorial for victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Classes resume Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook. A school bus rolls towards a memorial for victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. Classes resume Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook.

MONROE, Conn. (AP) — When the children who survived a shooting that killed 20 of their classmates return to school in a different building, they'll find things just as they left them Friday, down to the water bottles and boxes of crayons sitting on their desks.

They'll have their same chairs and desks, when possible. Their classroom walls will be painted the same colors and be hung with the same pictures. Other details, such as the location of bookshelves and cubby holes, will be replicated as much as possible.

The new Sandy Hook Elementary School will be located in a vacant middle school in Monroe, about six miles from the old school. It's expected to open in January, and students will remain there at least through the academic year with Donna Page, a retired Sandy Hook principal, leading the new school.

"One they get into the classroom, it's going to look as close to the old classroom as possible," Monroe First Selectman Stephen Vavrek said Wednesday.

The idea is to create as much normalcy as possible for children, Vavrek said. Officials consulted psychologists for the planned new school, he said.

To accomplish the task of re-creating the school, photos are being taken of classrooms and desks. One boy left behind his school football helmet, a little water bottle and his writing assignment. A girl left a crayon next to a box of them on her meticulous desk. Chairs are being carefully wrapped and taken to the new school.

More than 500 people are involved in the replication effort.

"It's a miracle everything that is going on there," Vavrek said.

Carolyn Mears, author of the book "Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma," said things like the school shooting shatter the old world. So familiar objects can be comforting.

"Routine really does help," Mears said. "The water bottle; that's really touching. I would think that would be helpful. That sense of strangeness can be softened by something familiar and comfortable in the environment."

But Mears, whose son survived the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, said children respond differently in such situations and officials need to be alert to any negative reactions.

Parents and students began touring the new school Wednesday, and Vavrek said the boy with the football helmet was excited to see it.

Their reactions were positive, with some students excited to be going to a larger middle school building, Vavrek said.

The new school will have cameras, police and other security measures, Vavrek said. He declined to go into detail on those measures.

"It's definitely going to be more secure than any school I've ever seen," he said. "Once that child enters that school, they're going to be safe."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Cab driver killed in accident with wrong way driver

    Cab driver killed in accident with wrong way driver

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:26 PM EDT2014-04-20 01:26:55 GMT
    There was a deadly crash on Interstate 5 in Old Town and police say a wrong way driver is to blame. 
    There was a deadly crash on Interstate 5 in Old Town and police say a wrong way driver is to blame. 
  • Woman survives paragliding crash in La Jolla

    Woman survives paragliding crash in La Jolla

    Saturday, April 19 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-04-20 01:15:54 GMT
    Lifeguards say a woman is thankful to be alive, after a paragliding crash near the Torrey Pines Glider Port. 
    Lifeguards say a woman is thankful to be alive, after a paragliding crash near the Torrey Pines Glider Port. 
  • Driver may face murder charges in deadly crash

    Driver may face murder charges in deadly crash

    Saturday, April 19 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-04-20 00:56:30 GMT
    Two people are dead and a suspected drunk driver is in the hospital, after a crash in the East County on westbound Interstate 8, east of Lake Jennings Park Road in Blossom Valley Saturday morning. 
    Two people are dead and a suspected drunk driver is in the hospital, after a crash in the East County on westbound Interstate 8, east of Lake Jennings Park Road in Blossom Valley Saturday morning. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.