Sandy Hook Parents and Teachers to Put on a Brave Face for Students


Sandy Hook School Ready for 'Opening Day'

Page is leading the new school as interim principal, telling parents it was her "calling" to return after the tragedy. Parents have dubbed her the "new old principal" because Page was the school's leader for 14 years before retiring in 2010.

The school's principal Dawn Hochsprung was among the first victims of the shooting. The school didn't know how they would fill Hochsprung's "very, very big shoes" until they heard from Page who said she knew she was being called back to the school when she heard about the shooting, Dryer said.

Dryer knew Page from when her daughter, now a sophomore in high school, was at Sandy Hook while Page was principal.

"She's amazing. She's an extremely strong woman," Dryer said. "She is the perfect person to come in and take control and lead this school and staff forward."

"Once we had those two things in place, we felt so much better and then everything has been coming together and working hard to prepare the space," she said. "They literally worked around the clock to get it all up to date."

As the school prepares to officially open, security is paramount in everyone's mind. There is a police presence on campus and drivers of every vehicle that comes onto campus are being interviewed.

"Our goal is to make it a safe and secure learning environment for these kids to return too, and the teachers also," Monroe police Lt. Keith White said at the news conference.

A "state-of-the-art" security system is in place, but authorities will not go into detail about the system saying only that the school will probably be "the safest school in America."

Every adult in the school who is not immediately recognizable will be required to wear a badge as identification, Dryer said.

"They want to know exactly who you are at sight, whether or not you should be there," Dryer said.

The first few days will be a delicate balancing act between assessing the children's needs and trying to get them back to a normal routine.

"They want to try to get things back into a routine as quickly as possible, but they do see the need for some therapeutic days," Dryer said. "They're going to spend the first few days mostly acclimating themselves to the new space doing a lot of different thing that will help them get familiar with the school."

Dryer said that some children will do activities that seem like simple, fun games, but are actually providing some therapy and giving adults a chance to assess where they are.

Now that the construction is finished, the walls are painted and the decorations hung, Robinson said that the only missing piece is the children.

"I think they'll feel welcome as they come through the front door," Lt. White said. "Their teachers eagerly await to meet them again and move forward from this point."

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