NEWTOWN, Conn. — Talk about Sandy Hook Elementary School is turning from last month’s massacre to the future, with differing opinions on whether students and staff should ever return to the building where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators.
Some Newtown residents say the school should be demolished and a memorial built on the property in honor of the victims killed Dec. 14. Others believe the school should be renovated and the areas where the killings occurred removed, like Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., after the 1999 mass shooting.
Town officials also are planning private meetings with the victims’ families to get their input.
It’s a bittersweet discussion for parents and former students who have many good memories of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site where Adam Lanza shot his way into the building and carried out the massacre before dying by suicide.
“I wouldn’t want to have to send my kids back to that school,” said Susan Gibney, who lives in Sandy Hook.
Fran Bresson, a retired police officer who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in the 1950s, wants the school to reopen, but he thinks the hallways and classrooms where staff and students were killed should be demolished.
“To tear it down completely would be like saying to evil, ‘You’ve won,’” Bresson said.
Until Newtown decides what to do, Sandy Hook students will continue attending a school renovated specially for them about 7 miles away in a neighboring town.