Newtown schools chief helps district recover

(CBS News) NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Janet Robinson is the woman in charge of putting the Newtown schools back together. She's been the school superintendent there for five years. On Tuesday, she reopened all the classrooms except those at Sandy Hook Elementary. Today, we asked her how she's helping children and teachers take the next steps forward.

JANET ROBINSON: There is a team of counselors assigned to every school. They're with that faculty, they're with those students. We have a parent room manned by a counselor at every school. We have a room for students, and we have one for teachers. We understand that people are going to react in different ways, and maybe, unexpectedly, when they think they're doing fine, something will trigger that emotion. And they need to talk about it.

SCOTT PELLEY: When do you think the new school for the Sandy Hook kids and teachers will be open? And when do you think they'll return to class?

ROBINSON: We're planning for right after the holiday break, that January will be a fresh start.

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PELLEY: What do you think, at this point, is going to happen to the building, Sandy Hook Elementary School?

ROBINSON: You're asking the question that I'm asking myself at three in the morning when I can't sleep. The teachers and the parents have been telling me they can never reenter that school, that it's -- it would just be beyond them to do it. One teacher said, "I will quit teaching before I go back in that building."

PELLEY: These are very early days, but how do you move forward?

ROBINSON: These are early days. And -- I think we are forever changed. But we have to move forward. We -- it is good for kids to know that we are strong, and that, as a community, we support them. And I have been -- moving to get some regular routine for students. I know that's in their best interest. And all of us as adults are -- we need that, too.

And I know once schools start, like yesterday, the adults -- the kids are therapy for the teachers. The kids -- kids want the routine, they're happy. And once the teachers start teaching and interacting with their kids, it helps them heal and move forward. These kids have their futures ahead of them. Survivors need to have -- we're responsible to see that good things happen for them. I can't take away what happened already.

  • Scott Pelley

    Anchor and Managing Editor, "CBS Evening News;" Correspondent, "60 Minutes"

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