Sandy Hook students return to school for new year

Associated Press
View photos
FILE - This undated identification file photo provided Wednesday, April 3, 2013 by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., shows former student Adam Lanza, who authorities said opened fire inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, killing 26 students and educators. The state's Office of the Child Advocate is seeking the release of Lanza's school records. The office, which investigates all unexplained child deaths in the state, first subpoenaed the records in March, but Newtown school officials have not released the information. On Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, Attorney General George Jepsen asked a Superior Court judge to order the release of the documents. (AP Photo/Western Connecticut State University, File)

MONROE, Conn. (AP) — Therapy dogs and heightened security greeted Sandy Hook Elementary School students Tuesday as they began their first full year of school without the 20 children and six educators slain in the December massacre.

The students from Newtown are being bused to the neighboring town of Monroe, where a former middle school was renovated for them after the Dec. 14 shootings.

"Things went well," said Brenda Lebinski, whose 9-year-old daughter is starting fourth grade at the school. "There was a lot of police presence when we pulled in. There were lots of teachers and therapy dogs greeting the kids when they walked in."

Lebinski said her daughter's transition was eased because she was able to have the same teacher as last year.

"She was very happy to be back at school," Lebinski said. "Most of the kids were fine."

On one of the school buses carrying the Sandy Hook children on Tuesday morning, a window was decorated with a quotation from the school's slain principal, Dawn Hochsprung: "Be nice to each other. It's really all that matters."

More than 400 students attend the elementary school for children from the village of Sandy Hook in Newtown, where officials had security posted at schools. The district has announced a partnership with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York to review school security measures and make recommendations.

A lone gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed 26 people at the school and committed suicide after fatally shooting his mother at their Newtown home. The motive remains unclear.

Town voters will be asked in October to approve plans to demolish the school where the massacre occurred and build a new one on the same property.