A tiny Texas town shaken by tragedy took a major step toward normalcy Monday as hundreds of students went back to school days after a fertilizer plant explosion leveled homes and killed at least 14 people.
In a scene recalling the first day of school, teachers and staff waited for students to shake their hands and pat them on the shoulders. Some parents took the day off to walk or drive their children there. Classmates who hadn't seen each other since Wednesday talked and laughed - with dozens of reporters and TV cameras chronicling their arrival.
Most of the students were headed to new classrooms because the old ones were severely damaged by Wednesday's explosion at West Fertilizer Co.; the schools weren't in session that evening. Intermediate students were sent to the local elementary school, which set up trailers for classrooms in back. Middle- and high-school students were bused from a car dealership parking lot to nearby Waco, where officials had quickly made space for them.