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Newtown Debates The Future Of Sandy Hook School

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After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December, the town arranged for students to go to school at a building in the neighboring town of Monroe. Now, Newtown is deliberating what to do with the building where the shootings took place and whether to build a new school.

Newtown officials held a second public meeting Friday night to hear what community members think should happen to the school.

Jackie Hornack has lived in Sandy Hook her whole life. She said it would be disrespectful to keep the school running as if nothing happened, and she said the good and bad memories of Sandy Hook would not be lost if the building is replaced by a memorial.

"And it certainly does not mean that that troubled man is now taking our school, too. It means that ... those who did not make it out of that building will be remembered and honored," she said.

She and several other speakers said the town should build a new elementary school nearby. Police Officer Todd Keeping, who lives in the Sandy Hook neighborhood, requested to be assigned to the school the students now attend. He said that new location — not the building where the shooting happened — is now Sandy Hook School.

"Today I was thinking to myself and walking down the hall, and it sounded like a school," he said. "They are smiling, they are happy."

He said every day it seems to get a little bit easier.

"You want to keep these teachers? Then you cannot ask any one of them to ever, ever go back there," he said.

Daniel Krauss said his daughter, Rachel, is a second-grader at Sandy Hook.

"She fondly remembers Principal [Dawn] Hochsprung during the book fair as she dressed up as the Book Fairy, with her light-up fairy dress," he said.

Hochsprung was one of the six adults killed in the shooting. Krauss said his daughter wants to go back to the building.

"For these kids, Sandy Hook is home and a special place. Yet as I listen to everybody, I think I really go back to my feeling ... that we need to listen to what the teachers and the staff have to say," he said.

Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra says figuring out what to do will be a long process. She says she's beginning to meet privately with teachers and staff to see what they think.

Copyright 2013 WSHU Public Radio Group. To see more, visit http://www.wshu.org/.

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