Childhood robbed in school shooting



March 17, 2021 - 9:06 AM

This is the Southington mural created in memory of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Two people who painted over the butterflies were arrested this week, police say.

The winter day started like every other for my 7-year-old brother. Shaken awake by our dad, he dutifully ate the bowl of cereal left for him and yawned as our mom ushered him out the door to the bus stop, the yellow bus rumbling down the street, ready to deposit him at school for another day of second grade.

Less than three miles away, our neighborhood elementary school was waiting to welcome my brother, the sun bouncing off the monkey bars outside the art room window and the cubbies tucked like wooden soldiers behind classroom doors, awaiting the detritus of backpacks and show-and-tell. The window inset in each door provided a clear view of the hallways.

My brother’s school was not in Kansas, though it had architecture typical of 1960s elementary schools everywhere. The low-slung building had a simple aluminum and cement portico jutting out from the double glass door entrance and a row of low-to-the-ground classroom windows the whole width of the school. This was the perfect vantage point for daydreaming students looking out and, for one man, peering in.

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