NEWTOWN, Conn. (WHDH) — For students in Newtown, Connecticut, this year's back to school is anything but ordinary. They'll be greeted not only by their teachers but also more armed guards.
“You know it's still day-to-day, and we have better days than others,” Jackie Barden said.
As Mark and Jackie Barden send their two children, 11 year-old Natalie and 13-year-old James, back to school in Newtown, Connecticut, it is another painful reminder of what's missing.
“This will be our first time back to school without Daniel,” said Mark Barden, Daniel’s father.
Daniel was one of 20 children and six educators killed during the horrific shooting spree inside Sandy Hook Elementary last December. The Bardens still struggling with what were once joyous occasions.
“We don't know how we're going to deal with Thanksgiving this year and then of course all of December, all of that is just coming and I don't even want to think about it,” Mark said.
“Imagining him going to second grade,” Jackie Barden said.
As the Newtown school system welcomed back more than 5,000 kids Tuesday, the school board says they're doing everything they can to put families at ease in the wake of Newtown and the recent school shooting scare in Georgia.
“No, it's not a normal back to school but we’re trying to put the resources in place,” said Debbie Leidlein Chair, Board of Education.
Resources like better locks on doors, real-time monitoring systems and more armed guards at every school.
“Parents will definitely see armed security at each school and there will be additional guards at multiple schools,” said Leidlein.
The Bardens say they want to see changes, like more kindness toward others to make sure the tragedy that took their son's life never happens again.
“We have to try to do the good work that he was supposed to do here. We're gonna try out best to do it for him,” said Daniel’s father.