This morning, the surviving children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut return to school for the first time since a gunman took 20 of their friends, and their innocence. Their new school building is a former middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe. School staff and volunteers have been working to re-create as much of the original classrooms as possible. The surviving teachers decided to rename the new school "Sandy Hook Elementary."
“Starting Point” speaks to a mother who can explain what it's like for parents and students returning to school after such a tragedy. She has also sent her child back to school after a mass shooting tragedy. Lori Haas's daughter Emily was shot twice but survived during the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting. Lori is now the Virginia organizer for the Coalition to End Gun Violence.
Lori reflects on the road to recovery Emily has faced. “It’s been a journey. There’s no denying that,” she says. “There’s ups and downs in the recovery, in the aftermath of a mass shooting. There's times when you have to deal with your post traumatic stress disorder and it may flare up at different times, it may recede at different times.”
Emily has since finished her degree, gotten married and is teaching school herself. Her mother says she and “the injured students stuck together quite a bit and were helpful to each other, and spent time together and a lot of time together, frankly, at the school, so that was a good for her.”
“Early Start” is remembering the victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School today. Principal Dawn Hochsprung will be remembered as a wonderful administrator but even more as a wonderful wife and mother. CNN’s Gary Tuchman talks with Principal Hochsprung’s family about the woman who sacrificed her life to save others.
Her husband George, who is much older than Dawn, proposed to her five times before she finally accepted. Both marrying for a second time, they joined together Dawn’s two daughters from her first marriage and George’s three daughters from his previous one. “They are a blended, but very close family with 11 grandchildren,” Tuchman says.
George says they built their dream house in the Adirondacks together. "It was going to be her house because I was gonna die, I was gonna be gone. I’m much older than Dawn," George says. “It was gonna be Dawn’s house ultimately, with all the children. All the children. And now it’s me. I can't, I don’t think I can do that.”
When George, who was teaching at the middle school at the time, found out his wife had been killed, “George raced out of school and into a nightmare,” Tuchman says. Since then, George has learned from two teachers who survived that they were having a meeting with Dawn when the shots started ringing out. “Dawn put herself in jeopardy and I have been angry about that," George says. "Until just now, today, when I met two women that she told to go into shelter while she actually confronted the gunman. And she could’ve avoided that that. And she didn’t, I knew she wouldn't. So I’m not angry anymore. I’m not angry…I’m just very sad.”
“Everyone here is so proud” of Dawn, Tuchman says. “No one more so than Erica, who said her mom was always there for her daughters.” “All of my sisters’ cheerleading stuff she was there, every dance competition. She was doing homework on the bleachers, but she was there,” Erica says. “And she was my rock. My rock.”
“And now she is a hero too,” Tuchman says.
Oikos University shooting Witness Lisa Resler describes what she saw when a gunman went on a rampage, killing seven students.
Brian Snow, witness to the shooting rampage in Oikos, explains what he saw at the scene and discusses the city's emergency response.
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan explains that the alleged Oikos shooter was upset with the school's administration when he went on a violent rampage yesterday that left seven people dead.