Most Schools Resume In Newton, Conn.
December 18, 2012 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
WASHINGTON, (UPI) – Most students in Newtown, Conn., returned to school Tuesday except at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 26 students and staff were killed last week.
Because the school remained a crime scene, Sandy Hook students are expected to resume their classes on Wednesday at a school in neighboring Monroe, WTNH-TV, New Haven, Conn., reported.
More funeral services, including those of two 6-year-old children, and wakes were scheduled Tuesday for the 20 children and six adults killed Friday by gunman Adam Lanza, 20, who then killed himself. Police said Lanza also killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in the home they shared before he went to Sandy Hook.
Meanwhile, a former director of security for Newtown Public Schools offered more information about the gunman, CNN said.
Richard Novia said Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, based on documents and conversations he had with Lanza’s mother. Novia said he would have been told of students who may pose a problem to themselves or others as part of his job, which he left in 2008.
However, Novia said he never thought Lanza posed a threat nor thought he could commit such violence.
CNN said it hasn’t been able to confirm whether Lanza was diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome, both developmental disorders.
Experts say the rampage couldn’t be blamed on Asperger’s or autism, CNN said.
“There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence,” the Autism Society said in a statement. “To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day.”
The grassroots group Newtown United said it was sending a delegation to Washington Tuesday to meet with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and families from movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., that occurred in July.
The Newtown group, formed Sunday, said it wants to create meaningful dialogue about what may have led to the tragedy.
In Washington, pro-gun lawmakers said they were open to new gun laws.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called for a commission to study the shootings, but said it should include mental health issues and “certainly can’t be a debate just about guns.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called for a “comprehensive study of our laws” aimed at preventing further shooting tragedies, possibly including measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people with mental illnesses.
Pro-gun Democratic lawmakers saying they were open to new gun laws included Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, both of West Virginia, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and Rep. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Manchin, who received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, told MSNBC assault rifles weren’t needed for hunting.
“It’s time to move beyond rhetoric” on weapons restrictions, he said.
Warner, who also has strong NRA backing, called the school shootings “a game changer” and called for “stricter rules on the books” regarding guns.
Donnelly told CNN, “You know, I’m a dad, too. My kids are a little older now, but I think of when they were 6 and 7 years old, and I think we have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again.”
Senate Majority Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev., a longstanding gun-rights supporter said lawmakers would “engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow” in the coming weeks, The New York Times reported.
NRA leaders have been silent since the shootings and declined many media interview requests.
President Barack Obama met with Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to “begin looking at ways the country can respond to the tragedy in Newtown,” the White House said.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated 54 percent of adults favor stricter gun control laws in the country, while 43 percent oppose. A CBS News poll indicated 57 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws while 30 percent said they think gun laws should be kept as they are.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was OK with the idea of school districts arming teachers if that was found the best way to keep schools safe, CNN reported.
If Texas residents are properly background-checked, trained and have a concealed handgun license, “you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in the state,” Perry told CNN affiliate WFAA.
National sporting goods chain Dick’s Sporting Goods removed all guns from its store closest to Newtown out of respect for the victims, the company said.