Students in Newtown, Conn., started a new school year Tuesday with security enhancements at a formerly vacant middle school in neighboring Monroe.
Police and security personnel were present at the town’s public schools as the children returned to the classrooms, ahead of the town residents’ vote in October on the fate of the Sandy Hook Elementary School building, said Brett Cody, spokesperson for the Conn. Senate Republicans, in an email to MSNBC.
The school closed Dec. 14, 2012 after a gunman killed 20 first graders and six educators in one of the country’s deadliest shootings. The surviving students finished the 2012-2013 academic year at the renovated Chalk Hill Middle School, which was formerly vacant, in Monroe.
A task force of 28 elected officials in Newtown earlier this year voted unanimously to construct a new building at the site of the Sandy Hook school. The town will vote on Oct. 5 to decide whether or not to tear down the structure and use the property to build a new school, an official from the Newtown superintendent’s office who declined to provide her name told MSNBC.
An Amish community in Pennsylvania reduced to rubble the West Nickel Mines School and constructed a new building a few hundred yards away after a gunman killed five girls in the former one-room schoolhouse in 2006.
The classroom building at Virginia Tech where a student gunman killed 30 people in 2007 was converted into a peace studies and violence prevention center. Columbine High School in Colorado reopened several months after two student gunmen killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher in 1999. The library, where most of the victims died, was converted into an atrium.
The Connecticut shooting fueled the national debate on gun control. The Senate in April failed to pass a bipartisan background checks legislation, which would have made it more difficult to buy guns from private sellers and on the Internet.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier this month said a vote on a background checks bill won’t happen before the 2014 midterm elections because of Congressional disagreements over government spending.