Bonnie Petrie and Mike Barajas

Newtown Elementary School Closed Over Threat

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EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images (NEWTOWN, Conn.) — Local officials closed a Newtown, Conn., elementary school following a threat on what would have been the first day of classes since a shooting rampage at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Classes at Head O’Meadow Elementary School were scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, but as parents and students arrived at the school they encountered police who turned them away.

Principal Barbara Gasparine sent an email to parents telling them that school would be closed rather than locked down due to the threats, the nature of which were not specified.

“As was predicted by the police that there would be some threats, the police were prepared and have us in lockdown, which is our normal procedure. Due to the situation, students will not come to school today. Please make arrangements to keep them home,” Gasparine wrote parents in an email obtained by ABC News.

Newtown police would not specify the type of threat, calling the school closure a “precautionary measure” in the wake of last week’s shooting that left 20 children and six adults of Sandy Hook dead.

Reporters at the school to cover the arrival of Newtown students on the first day since the massacre were pushed back by police a quarter of mile away from the school.

Sandy Hook Elementary and Head O’Meadow are 4.5 miles away from each other, and in the same district.

Sandy Hook is classified an active crime scene and will remain closed “indefinitely,” according to authorities. Officials are moving furniture and supplies from Sandy Hook classrooms to a former middle school in nearby Monroe, Conn. A start date for those students has yet to be determined.

It was a somber day for many parents who sent their students back to school. Green and white ribbons adorned the grilles of Newtown school buses Tuesday morning.

There was a heavy police presence at the schools — 15 police departments had been called in to help with security and there were several units at each school, an officer said.

At Hawley Elementary, families walked their children to school. One tearful mother told ABC that the time is right to go back to school for her fourth grader. Another father said that this is “a day of great sadness” but that “it will be good to get back into a routine.” He addressed concerns of a premature return, saying that “There’s no rulebook for this…is there ever a right day?”

At Newtown Middle School, lines of parents waited to drop off their kids. One teacher hugged a student as he exited the car. Children in school buses waved at reporters as they drove by.

And at Reed Intermediate, a memorial has been set up in the center island. Encircling the flag pole are three wreaths, bouquets of flowers, a host of green and white balloons, and what appears to be notes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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