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Task force recommends building new school at site of Sandy Hook massacre

Reuters file

A school bus takes Sandy Hook Elementary School pupils home from a temporary school Thursday, Jan. 3, the day they returned to classes after the killings of 20 classmates in December.

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in December, should be torn down and replaced with an entirely new school, the task force charged with determining its future decided Friday night.

A task force of elected officials has recommended tearing down the elementary school where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in December, and then rebuilding the school. The proposal will go before voters to decide. TODAY's Jenna Wolfe

The 28 members of the Sandy Hook Elementary Building Task Force, voting unanimously, rejected alternatives under which the current school would have been be renovated or a new school would have been built at a new location, NBC Connecticut of Hartford reported. Voters must approve the plan before it can go into effect.

Three weeks after the Dec. 14 shooting, pupils returned to classes at a former middle school seven miles from Sandy Hook. Relatives of victims of the shootings and other parents had been vehemently opposed to renovating and reopening the existing school.

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"I will chain my body to it and to protest if they try to reopen it," said Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the school's principal, who was among those killed, told NBC Connecticut after no decision was made at a meeting last week.

"It should be knocked down," Lafferty said. "There should be some type of long-lasting memorial. I don't want people to walk into the building and say, 'Oh well, that's where Erica's mom got gunned down.' That's not OK."

Officials have estimated the cost of renovating the current facility or building a new school at $47 million to $59 million.

"Just tearing it down and building a new school in the same place is one of the solutions that would make the most sense," said Peter Caracciolo, the father of a Sandy Hook pupil.

Daniel Krauss, whose daughter is a second-grader, told The Associated Press he was pleased by the panel's recommendation.

"It's been a place for learning, for kids to grow up and it's going to go back to that," he said.


Emotions run high in debate over future of Sandy Hook school