Stories of Teachers’ Heroism Emerge in Newtown Tragedy Aftermath
As the nation struggles to comprehend the unspeakable tragedy of the shooting deaths of 26 people at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school–20 of whom were children–stories of sacrifice and heroism on the part of the school’s teachers are making their way across the media. The Independent newspaper had details on three such teachers. From the newspaper’s story:
- [Victoria] Soto, who had taught at the school for five years was described by one of her deeply distraught 10-year-old pupils as ‘really nice and funny,’ was trying to shield her students and usher them into a closet when she came face-to-face with the gunman. Miss Soto’s cousin, Jim Wiltsie, said: “She put herself between the gunman and the children and that’s when she was tragically shot and killed. “I’m just proud that Vicki had the instincts to protect her kids from harm. It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children and in our eyes she’s a hero,” he added.
- Kaitlin Roig, another teacher who survived the attack, explained how she kept her class safe by ushering them into a bathroom when she heard shots being fired. “I said to them, I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be OK, because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear,” she added.
- Mary Ann Jacobs, who worked as a clerk in the school library added: “The intercom went off and we could hear a kind of skuffle going in the office. I thought it had been set off by mistake so I called the office and the school secretary answered and said it was a shooting. As far as I am concerned she is a hero as she was right where it was happening.” I yelled lock down in our room and ran across the hall to tell them to lock down too. We locked all the doors and covered the windows and got all the kids somewhere they cannot be seen. We told them to sit down and be quiet.”We took them into a storage room at the back of the library where the servers are. We tore up bits of paper and handed out crayons to give the kids something to do.”We were there for around an hour before people starting banging on the door saying they were the police. We didn’t open the door for a while until they put a badge under the door.”
For more on the tragedy in Sandy Hook, visit the following on Parents.com:
- Preventing Another School Shooting: What We Should (And Shouldn’t) Be Doing
- The Sandy Hook Tragedy: Dealing with Your Own Anxiety as a Parent
- 5 Helpful Resources for Talking to Kids About Tragedies