Parents Are Split Over Where To Build The New Sandy Hook Elementary School
Since the devastating events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, when 20 first graders and six staff members were killed during a gunman’s rampage, Newtown, Conn. has been trying to rebuild its community.
Part of that rebuild includes deciding what to do with the elementary school. The Today Show reported that the task force in charge of the final decision has narrowed down the choices to two spots for the elementary school’s location, and community members have very strong opinions on both.
The first option is to build a new facility down the street from the original school site, and the second is to simply renovate or rebuild the existing school. While everyone agrees that something has to be done to try to ease the memory of the tragic event, some of the victims’ families do not support a renovation of the existing building.
“I will chain my body to it and to protest if they try to reopen it,” said Erica Lafferty, Principal Dawn Hochsprung’s daughter. Hochsprung was killed while trying to protect her students. “It should be knocked down. There should be some type of long-lasting memorial,” she said.
However, not all of the victims’ families feel the same. Veronique Pozner, who lost her son Noah in the shooting, said she gets comfort from walking the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary. “It’s not for everybody, but just like I needed to see my son’s body, I needed to see where he died. That’s me, but I could totally understand why a parent would say ‘I can’t do this’,” she said.
She also acknowledges that the task force must do what’s best for the students that remain. “If that’s the best site [the new location] logically, economically for the other children, the ones that are alive…You know, who am I to say you shouldn’t build there, you shouldn’t rebuild?,” said Pozner.
Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis, who lived through a similar massacre 14 years ago, said that although it’s difficult to return to the scene of the crime, reopening his school was the best thing for his community. “It was going to be difficult to come back in this building but I think it helped greatly with the recovery,” said DeAngelis.
The task force meeting will take place tonight, and the city hopes to have a decision, albeit a difficult one, soon.