Residents are split on what to do with Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 faculty members a month ago on Dec. 14.
More than 200 gathered to discuss the fate of the school on Sunday, the Hartford Courant reported.
Some residents want the school torn down, claiming the bad memories will inhibit children from learning and the community from moving forward, while others say that tearing down the school down is a surrender and that only the hallways and classrooms where children and educators died should be removed.
No decision is expected for a while, and local officials will speak with victims' families about their wishes.
"It's pretty raw, but people are talking about it," Jim Gaston, one of Newtown's selectmen, told The Associated Press. "We'd like to hear from as many people as we can."
After the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 13 dead and 24 injured in 1999, the school tore down the library where most of the bloodshed occurred. Similarly, at Virginia Tech a classroom building where a student gunman killed 30 people in 2007 was converted into a peace studies and violence prevention center. Also, an Amish community in Pennsylvania tore down the West Nickel Mines Amish School and built a new school a few hundred yards away after a gunman killed five girls there in 2006.
Susan Gibney, who lives in Sandy Hook, said she purposely doesn't drive by the school because it's too disturbing. She has three children in high school, but they didn't attend Sandy Hook Elementary School. She believes the building should be torn down.
"I wouldn't want to have to send my kids back to that school," said Gibney, 50. "I just don't see how the kids could get over what happened there."
On the contrary, to tear the school down "would be like saying to evil, 'You've won,'" said Fran Bresson, a retired police officer who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School in the 1950s.
Christine Wilford said her second-grade son, Richard, wants to go back to Sandy Hook Elementary School. "Granted, he did not see a lot," she told the Courant.
For now, Sandy Hook students will continue attending a school renovated specially for them about 7 miles away in a neighboring town for now.
Newtown First Selectwoman E. Patricia Llodra said the aim is to finalize a plan by March.
"I think we have to start that conversation now," said Llodra. "It will take many, many months to do any kind of school project. We have very big decisions ahead of us. The goal is to bring our students home as soon as we can."
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