One boy’s brave signal raises hope

This week millions of American children returned to school after their holiday break. But the eyes of the nation were on one group of students in particular – the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Following the nightmarish shootings at the school on Dec. 14, there have been calls to demolish Sandy Hook and build a new school for the students. None of this could be accomplished quickly, however, so other plans had to be made.

The student’s new school is in nearby Monroe, Conn. The former Chalk Hill Middle School was repainted and new furniture was brought in for the Sandy Hook kids.

As the students entered the school for the first time Thursday, they also saw many familiar things waiting for them. Their desks, backpacks and other belongings left behind at Sandy Hook were brought to the new school.

Many of the kids also recognized Donna Page, their new principal. She had been their principal before she retired in 2010, and was replaced by Dawn Hochsprung, who was murdered during the tragic events.

After the shootings, Page called school parents and said she was willing to help in any way she could. She has come out of retirement to lead the school forward.

Newtown school Superintendent Janet Robinson said mental health counselors continue to be available at the school for anyone who needs them.

Patrol cars surrounded the school Thursday, with officers asking parents for identification when they dropped off their children.

With the weight of the world on their shoulders, it’s impossible to know how these kids will be affected by the tragedy. But children are much more resilient than we give them credit for being.

On Thursday morning, as news cameras recorded the students’ first day back at school, one little boy, Liam O’Connell, looked out his school bus window and raised both hands to flash “peace” signs to the cameras.

He seemed to be saying, “We’re going to be OK.”

We certainly hope they will, but we also believe our government should do everything possible to help these children recover and move on.