Schools to reopen in town showing astonishing resilience

The candle-lit shrines in Newtown are inspiring. They have become the focal points of a heart-broken community dealing with its sorrow. Hundreds of people are streaming past to pay their respects. Some are lighting candles and quietly weeping. Others have brought Christmas trees.

Flowers, candles and stuffed animals are seen at a makeshift memorial in Newtown Credit: Reuters

One group has arrived with "comfort" dogs, gentle St Bernards, that are trained to be especially affectionate towards traumatized children. The kids cuddle, pet and hug the dogs and - as if by magic - tears become smiles.

Newtown is a place of horror and pain. There are three more funerals planned for later today. But it is also a community showing astonishing resilience.

Later this morning, some of the schools will open in the town for the first time. Parents are anxious but doing their best to return to a routine, for the sake of the children.

But Sandy Hook Elementary School will stay sealed off indefinitely. The children who survived the rampage may go back to school next week, but to a new location.

A welcome sign hangs outside of the entrance for Chalk Hill Middle School Credit: Reuters

Will the school ever be used again? Should it be destroyed and converted into a memorial garden? Or should it defy Adam Lanza and return to the business of educating young children?

That debate is underway as Newtown attempts somehow, against all the odds, to find a way forward.