Posts Tagged ‘ heroes ’

Newtown Kindergarten, First-Grade Teacher’s Stories Reveal Heroism

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

The heroes of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were, everyone agrees, the teachers, many of whom gave their lives in efforts to protect their students. The story of kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer and first-grade teacher Kristen Roig, who survived the attacks, are among the inspiring stories. From CNN:

Kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer knows at least half of the killed children.

“Ten of them were in my class last year,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday. “It’s tough. It’s tough.”

When the shots rang out, Vollmer locked her classroom door, covered the windows, including the one in the door, then took the children into a nook between bookcases and a wall.

She read them a story to keep them calm.

“They kept saying ‘How come we’re here for so long?’ ‘Well, it will be a little longer.’ ” she answered. “When they’re 5, you do whatever you can to keep them safe and keep them calm.”

“We’re going to be safe,” Vollmer told them, “because we’re sitting over here and we’re all together.”

First-grade teacher Kristen Roig herded her students into a bathroom, locked the door and told them not to make a peep.

They got impatient, antsy, wanted someone to go out and see what was happening. No, she told them. She was afraid they would all die.

“If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I wanted that to be the last thing they heard,” she said, “not the gunfire in the hall.”

The wait dragged on, Vollmer said.

“Maybe it was 20 minutes, a half-hour; I’m not sure.”

Police knocked at the door to take them all out. They instructed her to have the schoolchildren hold hands and close their eyes.

“At 5, it’s not so easy to close your eyes and walk,” Vollmer said. “So I had them look toward the wall.” They all had to be brave.

For more on Parents.com about the Sandy Hook Tragedy, visit the following:

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Stories of Teachers’ Heroism Emerge in Newtown Tragedy Aftermath

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

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.”

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