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IKEDA, Osaka Pref. — Eighty days after the massacre of eight children at Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School, the school reopened Monday at a new temporary structure with several new features designed to ensure the safety of its approximately 680 students.

Puplis at Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School pass by teachers and parents as they attend a ceremony to start the new school term.

The two-story prefabricated building was built on a 4,600-sq.-meter plot owned by the university about 700 meters west of the school building where the fatal stabbings took place. Mamoru Takuma, 37, was subdued and arrested after the attack, which left 13 other pupils and two teachers wounded.

During a Monday ceremony to mark the start of the new term, Principal Yoshio Yamane spoke of the tragedy in his address to the students.

“(However) I would like you all to believe in humanity and think of the meaning of life,” he said.

At the entrance hall of the new structure, a memorial site for the victims was set up, where photographs of all the eight children are hung on the wall and thousands of paper cranes are displayed.

School officials said they took every precaution possible against intruders. The entire plot is surrounded by a 2-meter-high wire fence with only one gate opened for pupils when they come to and leave the school. In contrast, the former building had three gates left open to visitors.

The two other gates at the new school — one to be used as an emergency exit and the other for those bringing supplies to the school — are normally closed.

Teachers, staff and guards can keep an eye on all three gates and the outside of the building through video monitors with eight security cameras set up around the building and at the gates.

The new schoolhouse was built in the shape of a square with a patio in the middle so teachers in the staff room have a view of all the classrooms, even when they are not teaching. Visibility is strengthened by wide windows and transparent doors, especially for the classrooms.

Six classrooms for first- and second-graders are located on the first floor facing the patio so pupils can escape in an emergency to either the patio or the corridor, the officials said. All the victims of the June massacre were first and second graders.

One school official said the patio is meant to be the safest place on the premises as it is surrounded by the building and watched by everybody.

There are now about 200 emergency alarm buttons in the building, at least two each in a room, and both the staff room and the school office will be able to spot where an emergency button was pressed.

The former school building only had fire alarms.

As another precaution, pupils for the meantime will not wear their Ikeda uniforms, and parents will be allowed to drop off and pick up their children. School buses are also planned.

The old school building will be rebuilt out of concern for traumatized pupils who do not wish to return to the site of the massacre. The reconstruction is expected to take up to two years.

A considerable number of pupils are still suffering from the mental trauma caused by the attack. According to a questionnaire conducted by a mental support team earlier this month, about 40 percent of the first- and second-graders showed symptoms of stress with 10 percent showing particularly serious symptoms. The figures for the pupils between third and sixth grades were 30 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

For those pupils suffering from the mental shock of the incident, the school will have at least four counselors available every day.

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