I am reposting several articles as a composite of the heroes of Sandy Hook.
I’ll be brief here. Let’s just note that the heroic teachers who died while courageously trying to protect their kids at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and the others who survived but stayed to protect the kids, were all part of a school system where the employees are members of the American Federation of Teachers.
Let’s just let that sink in for a moment. Those teachers, who are routinely being accused by our politicians of being drones and selfish, incompetent money grubbers worried more about their pensions than about teaching our children (though most, even after 10 years, earn less than $55,000 a year for doing a very difficult job that involves at least 12-14 hours a day of work and prep time counting meetings with parents), stood their ground when confronted with a psychotic assailant armed with semi-automatic pistols and an automatic rifle, and protected their kids. The principal too, a veteran teacher herself, stood her ground, reportedly suicidally charging at the assailant along with the school’s psychologist in a doomed effort to tackle him and stop the carnage.
How many of us would have had to the courage to stand in front of a closet door to keep an armed madman from finding the kids hidden behind it, as one slain teacher died doing? How many of us would charge at an armed shooter, to almost certain death, in an effort top stop him from further killing? How many would bravely hide in a bathroom with a class of kids when we could have run away and saved ourselves?
And this: How many of the politicians in Washington and in state capitals and how many conservative think-tank “researchers” who attack teachers as leeches and drones would have shown such heroism under fire?
My guess is damned few — if any. Yet it appears from the news reports that not one teacher in that unionized school fled the scene and abandoned the children to their fate. They all stuck with their kids. So did the custodian — no doubt a unionized worker earning poverty wages — who ran through the building warning everyone of the attacker’s presence.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Newtown school board, like school boards all over this country, was considering cutting the school’s elementary music program and library program. It should be noted that both the school librarian and the school music teacher, whose jobs were on the line at the school board, stayed with the kids they were teaching when the attack began.
Yet in an attitude all too typical of many Americans’ thinking, one man, in a discussion section of the local paper, discussing the local School Board’s $1-million budget cutting plans last spring, wrote to a teacher last spring:
You, as a public sector employee, don’t generate ANY revenue. Every penny of the budget of your public sector enterprise is TAKEN from producers. It’s other people’s money versus money your organization EARNED. Your salary is not market based. Your salary, nor your benefits, nor your job, is in jeopardy during contracting economic times. If I want a raise I have to prove I have contributed more to the bottom line, and then it doesn’t matter unless the entire firm has grown the bottom line sufficiently to give me that raise. You are insulated from that reality. Your private (sic) sector salary only goes up. How is that fair? Especially in light of the fact that you don’t even generate the revenue that pays for your constantly rising salary?
Some of those “non-revenue-generating” unionized teachers, and the school’s non-revenue-generating principal, just died defending those kids.
I wonder if their tax-obsessed critics would have done the same?
From Fox News:
A worker who turned on the intercom, alerting others in the building that something was very wrong. A custodian who risked his life by running through the halls warning of danger. A clerk who led 18 children on their hands and knees to safety, then gave them paper and crayons to keep them calm and quiet.
Out of the ruins of families that lost a precious child, sister or mother, out of a tight-knit town roiling with grief, glows one bright spot: the stories of staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School who may have prevented further carnage through selfless actions and smart snap judgments.
District Superintendent Janet Robinson noted “incredible acts of heroism” that “ultimately saved so many lives.”
“The teachers were really, really focused on their students,” she told reporters Saturday.
Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice.
After gunman Adam Lanza broke through the school door, gun blazing, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and principal Dawn Hochsprung ran toward him, Robinson said. Hochsprung died while lunging at the gunman, officials said.
The 56-year-old Sherlach, who would have been tasked with helping survivors cope with the tragedy, died doing what she loved, her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times.
“Mary felt like she was doing God’s work,” he said, “working with the children.”
Just this past October, Hochsprung had tweeted a picture of the school’s evacuation drill with the message “Safety first.”
Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old teacher, reportedly hid some students in a bathroom or closet and died trying to shield them from bullets, a cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC News. Those who knew Soto said they weren’t surprised.
“You have a teacher who cared more about her students than herself,” said John Harkins, mayor of Stratford, Soto’s hometown. “That speaks volumes to her character, and her commitment and dedication.”
In other cases, staffers both saved students and managed to escape with their own lives.
Teacher said that as gunfire echoed through the school, a custodian ran around, warning people. He appears to have survived; all the adults killed were women.
“He said, ‘Guys! Get down! Hide!'” Varga said. “So he was actually a hero.”
Someone switched on the intercom, alerting people in the building to the attack by letting them hear the chaos in the school office, a teacher said. Teachers locked their doors and ordered children to huddle in a corner or hide in closets as shots echoed through the building.
In a classroom, teacher Kaitlin Roig barricaded her 15 students into a tiny bathroom, pulled a bookshelf across the door and locked it. She told the kids to be “absolutely quiet.”
“I said, ‘There are bad guys out there now. We need to wait for the good guys,'” she told ABC News.
One student claimed to know karate. “It’s OK. I’ll lead the way out,” the student said.
Clerk Maryann Jacob was working with a group of 18 fourth-graders in the library when the shooting broke out. She herded the children into a classroom in the library, but then realized the door wouldn’t lock.
They crawled across the room into a storage space, locked the door and barricaded it with a filing cabinet. There happened to be materials for coloring, she said, “so we set them up with paper and crayons.”
One person who wasn’t in the school at all also is being lauded for his grace: Robbie Parker, whose daughter Emilie died.
Speaking to reporters Saturday, he said he was not mad and offered sympathy for Lanza’s family.
“I can’t imagine,” he said, “how hard this experience must be for you.”
Teachers tried to shield children in the line of fire with their own bodies.
The school principal and school psychologist sprinted from a meeting to try to stop the gunman. A woman who, relatives said, was born to be a teacher gave her life doing what she loved.
When shots rang out at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, educators and school staff faced danger, clearly motivated by one overriding concern: The children.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung lost her life lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overpower him, Newtown officials said.
Hochsprung’s pride in Sandy Hook Elementary was clear. She regularly tweeted photos from her time as principal there, giving indelible glimpses of life at a place now known for tragedy. Just this week, it was an image of fourth-graders rehearsing for their winter concert; days before that, of the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee newspaper in 2010 that “I don’t think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day.”
She had worked to make Sandy Hook a place of safety, too, and in October, Hochsprung, 47, shared a picture of the school’s evacuation drill with the message “Safety first.”
When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Diane Day, a therapist at the school, told The Wall Street Journal that she was in a meeting with Hochsprung about 9:30 a.m. when they heard shots. Hochsprung and a school psychologist ran toward the sound of the gunfire, Day said.
“She had an extremely likable style about her,” said Gerald Stomski, first selectman of Woodbury, where Hochsprung lived and had taught. “She was an extremely charismatic principal while she was here.”
A month ago, she dressed up as the Sandy Hook Book Fairy — wearing a crown and a dress that lighted up — to inspire first-graders to read.
“She was always enthusiastic, always smiling, always game to do anything,” said Kristin Larson, the former secretary of the school’s PTA. “When I saw her at the beginning of the school year, she was hugging everyone.”
“She was an educator,” Larson said, her voice choked with emotion as she spoke by phone. “She wanted them to do well in school, but she also wanted them to have fun.”
Hochsprung was married to George Hochsprung, and is the mother of two daughters and three stepdaughters, according to a 2010 article in the Newtown Bee. She became Sandy Hook’s principal in 2010. Before that, she had worked for 12 years as an administrator in public schools.
Lynn Wasik, whose daughter attends Sandy Hook, said Hochsprung could often be seen crouching down to speak to her students at eye level. “She connected with the children,” Wasik said.
Friday morning, school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school’s principal ran toward the gunman.
Even as Sherlach neared retirement, her job at Sandy Hook was one she loved. Those who knew her called her a wonderful neighbor, a beautiful person, a dedicated educator.
Her son-in-law, Eric Schwartz, told the South Jersey Times that Sherlach rooted for the Miami Dolphins, enjoyed visiting the Finger Lakes, and relished helping children overcome their problems. She had planned to leave work early on Friday, he said.
In a news conference Saturday, he told reporters the loss was devastating.
“Mary felt like she was doing God’s work,” he said, “working with the children.”
LaureRousseau had always wanted to be a teacher and was living the life she wanted when she found herself in the killer’s path Friday.
Her parents said that the 30-year-old substitute teacher lived in nearby Danbury with her mother, and was a loving and hardworking woman who cared about the children she taught and was planning for her future.
“She didn’t leave school at 3 o’clock or whatever and went home and forgot about them,” said her father, Gilles Rousseau, of Southbury, Conn. “It was on her mind the whole night.”
And that was because she was truly living her life’s dream, her parents said.
“Lauren wanted to be a teacher from before she even went to kindergarten,” said her mother, Teresa Rousseau, in a statement. “We will miss her terribly and will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream.”
Rousseau had worked hard to get to where she was. She got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, where she had lived on campus, and had a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Bridgeport.
She had worked as a substitute teacher in Danbury, New Milford and Newtown before she was hired in November as a permanent substitute teacher at Sandy Hook.
Her father said that she had trouble getting a full-time job and was so happy when she landed the Sandy Hook job. She also worked at Starbucks in Danbury and catered, he said.
Rousseau had two younger brothers, Matthew, 27, and Andrew, 24, her father said. Her father described her as a caring person, suited to her profession.
“She has a cat that she treats like a little baby,” said her father. “She just needs to mother things . . . she mothers those little kids.”
Gilles Rousseau also shared some of the family’s ordeal of the family as relatives sent text messages and left voice mails trying to reach her Friday. Her parents had told several police officers Lauren’s name Friday, as they waited for the news.
Confirmation finally came at about 1 a.m. Saturday when a Connecticut State Police officer, a minister and two counselors rang the doorbell and knocked on his door.
“They had confirmed her death,” he said, choking back tears.
Gilles Rousseau said he called the mortuary where his daughter was, requesting to see her. But he was told he couldn’t come because she had been shot in the face.
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
She’s also being called a hero.
When she realized there was danger outside her classroom, first-grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, rounded up her students and hid them in a closet.
“She went into lockdown mode and got those kids out of harm’s way and, unfortunately, lost her life doing so,” said a cousin, James Wiltsie, 39, a policeman from Stratford, Conn.
Photos of Soto, known to her friends as Vicki, show her always with a wide smile, in pictures of her at her college graduation and in mundane daily life. She looks so young, barely an adult herself. Her goal was simply to be a teacher.
“She just absolutely adored being a teacher,” Wiltsie said.
Anne Marie Murphy
Teacher Anne Marie Murphy, a mother of four children herself, gave her life for the children that were in her care, her loved ones said.
The body of the Sandy Hook Elementary teacher, who grew up in Katonah in Westchester County, was found in a classroom, covering those of children also killed in the shooting, said her father, Hugh McGowan.
“One of the first responders said she was a hero,” McGowan said.
Amid their sadness, her parents recalled Murphy, the sixth of seven children, as a caring person who loved art and was devoted to her family.
“I’ll miss her presence,” her mother, Alice McGowan, said Saturday. “She died doing what she loved. She was serving children and serving God.”
Saturday morning, the couple attended Mass at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in Katonah, where their sorrow devastated the congregation.
The Rev. Paul Waddell said he was preparing to pray at the start of Mass. “But I looked up and saw a lot of teary eyes,” the priest recounted. “They told us about their daughter, that she was a teacher, she was killed in Connecticut. So we prayed at this 8 o’clock Mass for all of them and for her.”
From Buzz Feed:
First-Grade Teacher Victoria Soto, Age 27
Victoria Soto’s lifelong dream was to become a teacher. Her last moments were spent rushing her students into a closet when gunshots started going off. When the gunman entered her classroom, she shielded her students from incoming bullets.
Soto graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with an elementary education and history degree and was studying for a master’s degree in special education at Southern Connecticut State University. Soto loved spending time with her family and her dog, a black Labrador named Roxie. She had been at Sandy Hook for more than five years, having started as an intern before becoming a teacher.
“It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children, and in our eyes, she’s a hero,” her cousin Jim Wiltsie said. “She lost her life doing what she loved. I don’t think she would have it any other way. She loved kids. Her goal in life was to be a teacher and to mold young minds, and that’s what she achieved, and unfortunately lost her life protecting those children.”
First-Grade Teacher Kaitlin Roig, Age 29
Kaitlin Roig survived the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Thanks to her heroism, so did 15 children. When she first heard gunshots, she quickly ushered 15 students into a tiny bathroom and pulled a bookshelf across the door before locking it. Roig told her students to be “absolutely quiet.”
“I just knew we had to get in there, I just kept telling them it’s going to be OK. We are going to be alright,” said Roig.
Roig, who has been a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School for more than five years, refused to even unlock the bathroom door for police. “I didn’t believe them,” she said to ABC News, holding back tears. “I told them if they were cops, they could get the key. They did and then [they] unlocked the bathroom.”
School Psychologist Mary Sherlach, Age 56
Mary Sherlach had worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School since 1994 and was one year away from retirement. She enjoyed her work as a psychologist and helping young kids. When gunshots rang out, her first instinct was to head toward the danger. Like principal Dawn Hochsprung, she died protecting kids by confronting the gunman.
She was married for 31 years to her husband, Bill, and had two adult daughters, ages 25 and 28. Her older daughter was a high school choir teacher. She had a website where she kept parents informed on the school’s special education system.
Former school superintendent John Reed praised her as a friendly, smart, and loving person.
“If there ever was a person, by qualifications and personality, to work with children, to be a school psychologist, it was Mary,’’ Reed said.
Music Teacher Maryrose Kristopik, Age 50
Maryrose Kristopik’s actions during the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can’t be described as anything but heroic. Thanks to her, 20 students survived Friday’s tragic events.
When the first shots rang out, the quick-thinking Kristopik moved her class of 20 into a nearby closet and barricaded the door.
“I did take the children into the closet and talked with them to keep them quiet. I told them that I loved them,” Kristopik said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “I said there was a bad person in the school. I didn’t want to tell them anything past that.” Kristopik held the door tightly closed even as the gunman reportedly was yelling “Let me in! Let me in!”
One mother of an 8-year-old student in Krisopik’s class said her daughter was safe due to her heroic actions. “My daughter’s teacher is my hero,” the mother said to the Newtown Patch. “She locked all the kids in a closet and that saved their lives.”
“All of the staff members worked hard at our school to help our children,” Kristopik said to the NY Daily News. “Now it’s time to focus on helping the families who lost their children today.”
School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, Age 47
Dawn Hochsprung ended her life in the same way she lived, helping children. When the gunman forced his way into the school, Hochsprung died while lunging at him in an attempt to take him down.
She spent her life as an educator. Before becoming the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School, she was an assistant principal at a local middle school and spent one year in the same post at Connecticut’s Danbury High School.
Hochsprung had the school organize days called “Wacky Wednesdays,” where students were allowed to wear goofy clothes that deliberately didn’t match. Sometimes she let students dress up as their favorite storybook characters and would dress up herself. She believed the school was a community. When she sent letters home to parents, she would address them to the “Sandy Hook family.” Her Twitter feed is inspiring and offers insight into an educator who truly cared for her students. One photo she tweeted showed a teacher dressed as a fairy reading a book to her students.
Hochsprung worked as hard in her own life as she did as a principal. Besides being a mom to two daughters and three stepdaughters, she was enrolled in a post-graduate program at Esteves School of Education in New York.
Jeff Hamel, the first selectman for nearby Bethlehem in Connecticut, said she “touched many of our hearts with her professionalism and love for her students.”
Special Education Teacher Anne Marie Murphy, Age 52
Anne Marie Murphy was “a light in the darkness” when the shooting first began in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her job was to provide students with one-on-one care, but her life tragically ended trying save a handful of children. She was found by first responders shielding her students from gunfire.
“She died doing what she loved,” said Murphy’s mother, Alice McGowan.
Murphy was a special education teacher at the school and was raised Katonah, NY. She was the sixth of seven children and a mother of four.
Anna Marie Murphy is remembered on Facebook as a protector of her students, the “little angels.
And one final thought.
According to the latest reports, the shooter’s mom loved her guns and one if not several were used in this horrific incident.
Oh yeah and I don’t want to hear any other frickin’ ed reform rats talk about teachers ever again. That list includes the B(ill) Gates paid crowd including Stand for Children and the League of Education Voters, Our Schools Coalition, NCTQ, Teachers United, the Alliance for Education, the Walton’s and any of their ilk, Michelle Rhee, anyone from TFA, Inc., CCER, Eli Broad or anyone paid by or has anything to do with him or his ill gotten gains and Arne Duncan, the crown prince of idiocy and puppet of all of the above.