With heavy hearts and amid high security, thousands of children in Newtown, Conn., returned to school Tuesday for the first time since a gunman killed 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary.
It was a tiny glimmer of normalcy in a town that has only just started to bury its dead, but the police officers and grief counselors on hand made it clear this will be no ordinary school day.
“This is a day to start healing,” Newtown High School Principal Charles Dumais wrote in an e-mail to parents before six schools opened two hours later than usual.
Sandy Hook, where a rifle-toting Adam Lanza turned two classrooms into a shooting gallery on Friday, remains a crime scene, with no indication if its 600 students will ever return to the building. Preparations are being made for them to use a school building in a neighboring town in the interim.
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