The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was one of the most horrific acts of violence in our nation's history. There isn't a parent in this nation, I am sure, who wasn't affected and in pain over what happened to those 20 beautiful children and their six educators.
The children are back at school now, at a new school with the principal they had before Principal Dawn Hochsprung was gunned down by Adam Lanza one month ago today. Now, the question has become this: What should the town do with the Sandy Hook building?
Some parents say they never want their children to step foot in the school again (understandably), while other family members, including a sister of one of the children who was there that day, feel otherwise. She said:
If we were to knock the school down, we'd be losing the culture, that same Sandy Hook School feel that we all love and feel nostalgic about. One psychopath, whom I refuse to name, has unfortunately done his damage ... We can't let him do any more damage. We can't let his cruel acts go any further.
My heart aches for this beautiful, eloquent 17-year-old and I see her point. But as a parent, I can't even begin to imagine sending my children back to a place where such a tragedy took place, a place where they were traumatized for life.
Even more horrific, if I were a parent of one of the children who died, the thought of anyone attending school where my child was gunned down is too much to bear.
Unfortunately, the school is a grave site now. It should be memorialized as such and no child who was there that day should ever have to return without a parent or trauma specialist there with them.
Places have great power, and while some places should be rebuilt in defiance and used in the same way they were before, this just doesn't strike me as one of them. There were too many young lives lost senselessly.
As a parent, I suppose destroying it wouldn't be my first choice. It seems like a great place to do something good for children. Maybe it could be a rehabilitation hospital or some kind of place for children in need. But a school? No. It shouldn't be that again.
The best way to memorialize these kids is to make sure they didn't die in vain. To do good in their name. To me, that is the way the building should be used.
Do you think the school should be torn down?
Image via sidewalk flying/Flickr