Classes Resuming in Newtown, Minus Sandy Hook

Frank Kulick adjusts a display of wooden crosses and a Jewish Star of David, which represent the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on his front lawn, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, in Newtown, Conn.
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By DAVID KLEPPER and MICHAEL MELIA, Associated Press

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — With security stepped up and families still on edge in Newtown, schools are opening for the first time since last week's massacre, bringing a return of familiar routines — at least, for some — to a grief-stricken town as it buries 20 of its children.

Two 6-year-old boys were laid to rest Monday in the first of a long, almost unbearable procession of funerals. A total of 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

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While classes resume Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook, some parents were likely to keep their children at home anyway. Local police and school officials have been discussing how and where to increase security, and state police said they would be on alert for threats and hoaxes.

Suzy DeYoung said her 15-year-old son is going back to the high school.

"I think he wants to go back," she said. "If he told me he wants to stay home, I'd let him stay home. I think going back to a routine is a good idea; at least that's what I hear from professionals."

On Monday, Newtown held the first two funerals of many the picturesque New England community of 27,000 people will face over the next few days, just as other towns are getting ready for the holidays. At least one funeral is planned for a student — 6-year-old Jessica Rekos — as well as several wakes, including one for teacher Victoria Soto, who has been hailed as a hero for sacrificing herself to save several students.

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Two funeral homes filled Monday with mourners for Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old. A rabbi presided at Noah's service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket with a Star of David on it.

"I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room," Noah's mother, Veronique Pozner, said at the service, according to remarks the family provided to The Associated Press. Both services were closed to the news media.

"Most of all, I will miss your visions of your future," she said. "You wanted to be a doctor, a soldier, a taco factory manager. It was your favorite food, and no doubt you wanted to ensure that the world kept producing tacos."

She closed by saying: "Momma loves you, little man."

Noah's twin, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy.

At Jack Pinto's Christian service, hymns rang out from inside the funeral home, where the boy lay in an open casket. Jack was among the youngest members of a youth wrestling association in Newtown, and dozens of little boys turned up at the service in gray Newtown Wrestling T-shirts.

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Jack was a fan of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and was laid to rest in a Cruz jersey.

Authorities say the man who killed the two boys and their classmates, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, shot his mother, Nancy, at their home and then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A Connecticut official said the mother, a gun enthusiast who practiced at shooting ranges, was found dead in her pajamas in bed, shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.

Lanza was wearing all black, with an olive-drab utility vest with lots of pockets, during the attack.

As investigators worked to figure out what drove him to lash out with such fury — and why he singled out the school — federal agents said that he had fired guns at shooting ranges over the past several years but that there was no evidence he did so recently as practice for the rampage.

Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said both Lanza and his mother fired at shooting ranges, and also visited ranges together.

"We do not have any indication at this time that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months," Seifert said.