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January 3rd, 2013
08:51 AM ET

Sandy Hook Elementary students return to school today; Virginia Tech victim’s mother Lori Haas relates: 'ups and downs in the recovery'

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.”

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