US school shooting survivors return to class

Students from Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut have returned to class for the first time since a gunman killed 20 of their classmates there in a shooting last December.

With their original school in the US state of Connecticut still being treated as a crime scene, more than 400 Sandy Hook students were attending classes at a refurbished school in the neighbouring town of Monroe on Thursday.

Connecticut governor, Daniel Malloy, has announced the creation of an advisory commission that will review and recommend changes to state laws and policies on gun control, school safety measures and mental health services in the wake of the December 14 massacre.

The 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother at their Newtown home before driving to the school, where he shot dead 20 children and six adults.

He had no known connection to the school, and police have not released any details about a motive.

"But that cannot be an excuse for inaction. I want the commission to have the ability to study every detail so that they can help craft meaningful legislative and policy changes," Malloy said.

Police presence

Law enforcement officers have been guarding the new school, which was formerly the Chalk Hill Middle School, but has since been renamed as Sandy Hook Elementary school.

While there is a heavy police presence around the school's new campus, Monroe Police Lieutenant, Keith White, said the police department was trying to help the new school feel as comfortable as possible for the children.

"We don't want them to think this is a police state, we want them to know that this is a school and a school first," he said

"It is a place they come to learn, enjoy their friends and grow up."

The school district said parents who wanted to be close to their children were welcome to visit and stay in classrooms or an auditorium throughout the day.

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