A homeroom away from home for Sandy Hook.

Some very intelligent, highly articulate, well-credentialed people are saying that the Sandy Hook Elementary School wasn’t being used to educate kids during the time of the shooting.

They’re saying it was used as a stage for a FEMA drill and a fake massacre.

And they’re saying the school had been shut down long beforehand because of its asbestos, dirty tiles, wood rot, dangling wires – the list goes on. See the photo album here.

“Impossible!” other people are shouting. But what is truly impossible? Truly nothing. Imponderable and improbable do not count.

I invite you to do your Sandy Hook homework and consider what’s possible – with Cinderella.

“What a dump!”*  School buildings sometimes resemble prisons, but the Sandy Hook Elementary School depicted in the album resembles a dump. It’s shabby, dirty, full of clutter.

Cinderella has seen it all before in the apartments of past boyfriends. Rat-packing, dreary décor, fungus, icky-stickiness, evidence of bad plumbing.

So, if the above is true, where were the kids attending school in the meantime?

It’s a hypothetical question, but since it isn’t against the law, Cinderella is asking it and entertaining some plausible answers. Make of it what you will. Or ignore it completely!

Chronology ontology. The Wayback Machine has been used to determine whether Sandy Hook Elementary School’s website was up and running during the time of interest.

There’s lots to love about the curious, meandering Wayback Machine. It hops around and crawls through live, active websites pretty regularly like a digital weasel.

If websites are taken down or stagnant, naturally there’s nothing to see. An active website is most likely to attract Wayback attention.

Someone a lot smarter than Cinderella found out that Sandy Hook’s original website URL**  (newtown.k12.ct.us/~sh),  which showed strong ferreting activity from 2001-2007,  got no Wayback attention  for a long time: four years, from early 2008 through 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. (Go here and look at item 5, then see the Wayback results here.)

Then – boi-oi-oi-oing – the Wayback Machine resumed its ferreting in 2013.

Was a new Sandy Hook website in force during the 2008-2012 pause? Cinderella looked at the URL Sandy Hook is using today on the Wayback Machine. It shows anemic Wayback interest beginning in 2011, almost nothing in 2012 (just 2 captures for Jan. & April of that year), then – POP goes the weasel! – a big healthy burst of ferreting in 2013.

So if these were the only websites Sandy Hook School was using, the school probably wasn’t online much, if at all, from 2008 through most of 2011 and all of 2012. Weird.

Why? One reason could be that the school wasn’t in operation as Sandy Hook Elementary School during that time, but as some other school with a different URL, one no longer in service. And maybe even a different location. What could that “location” be?

Slide over and make room for Sandy Hook. Let’s assume that Sandy Hook Elementary School was relocated. New place. New URL. New non-Sandy-Hook décor. Same Sandy Hook students and parents.

Is it probable that the kids were housed in an existing Newtown public school for a few years? I don’t think so.

The decline in elementary school enrollment caused the Newtown school system to make some changes,  such as no more assistant principal for Sandy Hook School beginning in June 2012. From a document (Attachment H) dated October 2012 found here, Cinderella learned that the four  Newtown K-4 public schools averaged about 402 students: Hawley (368); Sandy Hook (454); Middle Gate (448); Head O’ Meadow (339).

Obviously, one of these schools by itself couldn’t have accommodated 454 Sandy Hook kids. But could each of the  three other Newtown K-4 schools have taken in 151 extra students? Nice thought, but I can hear the parents screaming now.

In 2014, Newtown commissioned an enrollment study on its public schools. Get yours here. You’ll see on pages 18-19 that high school enrollment was slightly up from 2008-2012. Intermediate and middle school enrollments were slightly down. And  elementary enrollments were truly on the slide.

Could any of the upper schools have squeezed in an extra 454 K-4 students? I doubt it. Unless some of the little ones were sitting on laps or squatting in the gym, they would have had a terrible time with middle- and high-school-sized furniture and lavatories.

For very obvious reasons, Sandy Hook parents and teachers would have come out with their pitchforks in protest.

Conclusion: Accommodating 454 Sandy Hook students in existing Newtown public schools is a highly unlikely possibility.

Tuition-free private schools? Possibly.  At first, I rejected the idea that any of Newtown’s four fancy private schools might have made room for 454 Sandy Hook kids for four long school years. Who would have paid the tuition? There are probably plenty of other reasons to reject this idea, but that one hooked me.

However, quite a lot of boodle flowed into Sandy Hook before and after the event.  Some of the Sandy Hook parents even received free homes on Christmas Day of 2009! So four years of free tuition for 454 students can’t be ruled out at this point.

There’s even the possibility that the 454 were schooled overseas in private American schools for expatriates – for four long years. It’s possible. We can’t discount it, so it stays on the table.

Gene Rosen’s house? “Too small,” says Goldilocks. While conveniently located, I think we can rule this one out. Mr. Rosen made room for 4-6 Sandy Hook children, according to his multiple testimonies, on the day of the 2012 Event. But I doubt his house (which he alleged one of the students described as “small”) could have accommodated the Sandy Hook 454.

Home-schooling? Hm. While many of the households in the hamlet might have been able to afford dropping or paring down one income, it doesn’t match their mostly professional profiles. One thing about Sandy Hook parents is that they seem to have been very, very busy. Busy as Newtown bees. (Speaking of bees, Cinderella found this interesting page  on bees, Masonry and a certain church. See this also. And please see this.)

Some might have been willing to give up his/her job for the noble purpose of home-schooling kids. But I doubt the Wheelers were. Francine and David Wheeler both had busy careers as actors.

Others seem equally enterprising. One, for instance, established his own “duck dynasty“!  This person, an anonymous Sandy Hook police officer (and possibly a parent?) used it to invite charitable donations. See the ducky Facebook page here, established right after the event in January 2013.

Busy. Busy. Busy. Who had time to home-school kids in Sandy Hook? Hardly anyone except, according to official accounts, Nancy Lanza. (See how the state of Connecticut tried to restrict parental rights because of that here.) It’s all very sad.

But maybe the Parkers, Alissa and Robbie, home-schooled. They were Mormons, right? Many conscientious Mormon moms stay at home full-time to school their little ones. I’m not sure whether Alissa Parker worked outside the home before the event, but afterwards, she became an entrepreneur. And started safeandsoundschools.org with another Sandy Hook mom.

Husband Robbie has an even more interesting career. There’s a heap of confusion over who Robbie Parker is/was and where he worked. Danbury Hospital? Or a high-tech, national security outfit called SpotterRF?  The latter makes compact radar devices and is associated with both the DHS and the CIA. If he worked there, he was commuting all the way from Sandy Hook to New Jersey. Busy.

It’s all so confusing to Cinderella!  I suggest that you read about the Parkers’ occupations here. It’s actually quite fascinating.

One other home-schooling possibility remains: The Sandy Hook parents could have hired or been provided with full-time tutors. As unlikely as it seems, we can’t rule this one out. On the table it stays.

What about … Fairfield Hills? At first I thought this was an even sillier notion than Gene Rosen’s house. A shut-down, abandoned psychiatric institution, said to be  haunted, with crumbling roofs, lots of bad karma, no heat and no child-proof electrical sockets? It seemed off the wall.

What I didn’t know is that Fairfield Hills has been partially repurposed since Newtown purchased it from the state of Connecticut in 2001. The town hall and Board of Education are housed in one of its renovated buildings (Bridgeport House) on 3 Primrose Street. Open since 2009, it presents a very dignified facade. Cinderella was impressed!

But the building that really caught my attention is this one: Newtown Youth Academy. It sounds a bit like a military school (e.g., the Coast Guard Academy) or at least some kind of educational institution.

And in fact, the Wayback ferret reveals – in a captured Newtown Bee article – that once upon a time, back in November 2008, something called “BRAC” was “eyeing” Fairfield Hills for use as a military training center. Yes! There’s a lovely rendering of it here.

But Newtown Youth Academy isn’t a military training center – at least not to Cinderella’s knowledge. It’s a gi-normous (86,000 SF) two-story sports complex located at 4 Primrose Street – not far from town hall. You can read about the complex at Fairfield Hills here. Note carefully when Newtown Youth Academy opened:

November 1, 2008! The reason I exclaim is because this date fits in squarely with the Wayback Machine’s almost total lack of interest in the old and new Sandy Hook URLs during 2008.

If Sandy Hook students were moved to the Newtown Youth Academy at that time to escape the ugly old building, maybe the school was using a different URL for a totally different website – one that Cinderella confesses she can’t find. But Cinderella is a dancer, not a nerd.

Anything is possible with the right resources.

A look behind Newtown Youth Academy. A Newtown Bee article tells us all about the philanthropist who founded Newtown Youth Academy, Mr. Peter D’Amico. What a nice, classy gentleman! Just last year (2015), he won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Western Connecticut State University.

In 2008, he sank between $7.2 – 11M of his own money into razing Bridgewater Hall at Fairfield Hills so that Newtown Youth Academy could be erected in its place.

It went up very quickly – only 8 months – because the builders used Tilt-Up panels to create the vast indoor gyms and courts.

Mr. D’Amico said at the opening ceremony that he was inspired by his parents, who sold everything they had in Italy to come to “the land of opportunity” in the 1960s: “I have been fortunate enough to live the American dream and give back to my community.”

The Newtown Youth Academy is still owned by Mr. D’Amico and is described in the article as “the first fully functional business to establish itself on the former state hospital grounds.” And it’s been  doing wonderfully, with annual sales of $2.2M  according to this Hoover’s report.

The success of the center owes much to its owner’s great business acumen, in Cinderella’s opinion.

He owns two other businesses in Newtown (here and here), both serving the cement industry internationally. And he’s working with the Port of Stockton in California to develop a “sustainable” cement grinding facility that will serve the Northern California construction industry.

He must be very optimistic as well as generous, because if Cinderella had money, she wouldn’t bet it on Stockton or its port. Its housing boom went bust a while back, and the City Hall is said to be infested with rats. And there aren’t enough police to keep up with the criminals.

But Mr. D’Amico seems to be more about philanthropy and hospitality than profit. Right after the 2012 Event, he offered his facility, Newtown Youth Academy, as a community shelter and gathering place.

People arrived from all over the country and were sheltered at the Academy, according to this article. Mr. D’Amico even banned cameras from the property, which the writer describes as an “oasis,” a “bastion, ” a “safe haven” and  a “womb” as the result of the thoughtful media ban and generous hospitality.

The Newtown Youth Academy was also part of a charitable collection taken up*** in the aftermath of the Event through a recording of schoolchildren singing, “Over the Rainbow.” Whoever these children were, they certainly were very charming.

Who’s to say that kind of generosity and hospitality didn’t extend to Sandy Hook Elementary School after it fell on hard times? Perhaps Newtown Youth Academy felt so sorry for those kids that it rolled out its red carpet for them after the school building was found to be out-of-code and full of hazardous materials.

If so, Bravo! As Mr. D’Amico was quoted as saying at the 2008 ribbon-cutting ceremony, “We all need to give our time and talents to our community.”

Of course, this is all pure hypothesis.

A look inside. Click here for a nice video about the Newtown Youth Academy. You’ll see that the Academy is huge – you could fit three circus tents inside! It encompasses a soccer field, basketball courts, a fitness center, running track, and office space.

Most likely the office space is on the second floor. Could those spaces have been used as classrooms between 2008 through 2012? Maybe. The video actually shows an airy, modern-looking classroom space at the 1:51 mark with cheery little chairs and tables in bright primary colors.

Three purely hypothetical possibilities. So let’s review the three top possibilities that survived our vetting process on where the Sandy Hook Elementary School might have been relocated from 2008-2012:

  1. Local or international private schools with “free” tuition.
  2. Home-based schools with private tutors.
  3. Newtown Youth Academy.

I know what my favorite is. What’s yours?

That’s all for now. Cinderella has stayed too long at the Sandy Hook School of Ballroom Dancing. Pumpkin time! To bed.

*

*Bette Davis spoke this line in “Beyond the Forest.” Cinderella loves it!  And has borrowed it many times.

**The old Sandy Hook Elementary School URL has been removed since the Wayback Machine findings were first published. But you can still find the results here. Unfortunately, someone must have scrubbed most of the material from the archive. Clicking on separate “snapshots” results in 404 Error messages. 😦

***Cinderella still isn’t sure how that worked.

 

 

 

 

 

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