Sandy Hook Elementary School to be Demolished

Monroe Sandy Hook


Family and friends of the children and teachers who were gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, will get their wish.  A panel of 28 men and women have voted to demolish the school.

“I will chain my body to it in protest if they try to reopen it,” Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung, said on the “Today” show this month.

A new school is planned, and will be built on the same sight.

The vote was unanimous.  “We came together as 28, and I hope we can come together as a community to rebuild the spirit of our community and build the school together,” said Laura Roche, a member of the task force.

Those who spoke in front of the panel were not all in agreement that the building should be razed.  Some spoke as to the importance of the school in the community, and keeping the school in place would be a victory over evil.

“Call me crazy, call me insensitive, but I would go back to that school tomorrow,” said Mergim Bajraliu, a local high school student, who rushed to the school that morning and who, with his two siblings, went to Sandy Hook. One is still a student at Sandy Hook. Mr. Bajraliu added: “The least we could do for those kids is to bring them home.”

But in the end, the panel decided that it would be too painful for the parents of the 20 small children, and the families of the 6 educators who died on last December 14th to ask them to continue to see the building where such tragedy occurred.  They also were reluctant to ask the teachers who were present on that horrific day to re-enter the building.

The recommendation will now go to the local school board and would need the approval of local residents, who will vote in a referendum.

It will cost about $57 million to build a school on the existing site, a study found. Construction could start next spring and the building could open in January 2016

At present, the 430 students who survived the attack are attending a school that was not in use in the neighboring town of Monroe.  The school has been temporarily named “Sandy Hook”.

“The longer the process went on, the more it became clear that there was no solution without costs and pain”, said E. Patricia Llodra, the first selectwoman and a member of the task force.

“We all wanted a wonderful solution that would satisfy everyone and we realized that wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “But I think we reached a point where we could make a positive decision that we feel is the right thing to do.”

“It’s going to be a happy place full of children and learning,” Ms. Llodra said. “We need to make this work, and we will. We will.”

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

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