The Sandy Hook Elementary School Teachers Are Heroes, Part II
12:30 pm, December 17th | by Sarah Devlin
On Friday, as the coverage of the horrifying events at Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolded, we wrote about the teachers who risked their lives to protect their students. As more information has emerged, many initial media reports had to be corrected (including ours), but one thing that hasn’t changed are the stories of heroism and selflessness on the part of school staff.
Now that the state of Connecticut has released the names of those killed inside the school, we know that every victim inside Sandy Hook was either a child or a female staff member. From the Associated Press:
DAWN HOCHSPRUNG, 47, principal
Dawn 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, the tiny hands of kindergartners exchanging play money at their makeshift grocery store.
She viewed her school as a model, telling The Newtown Bee 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, the 47-year-old Hochsprung shared a picture of the school’s evacuation drill with the message “safety first.” When the unthinkable came, she was ready to defend.
Officials said she died while lunging at the gunman in an attempt to overtake him.
ANNE MARIE MURPHY, 52, teacher
A happy soul. A good mother, wife and daughter. Artistic, fun-loving, witty and hardworking.
Remembering their daughter, Anne Marie Murphy, her parents had no shortage of adjectives to offer Newsday. When news of the shooting broke, Hugh and Alice McGowan waited for word of their daughter as hours ticked by. And then it came.
Authorities told the couple their daughter was a hero who helped shield some of her students from the rain of bullets.
MARY SHERLACH, 56, school psychologist
When the shots rang out, Mary Sherlach threw herself into the danger.
Janet Robinson, the superintendent of Newtown Public Schools, said Sherlach and the school’s principal ran toward the shooter. They lost their own lives, rushing toward him.
VICTORIA SOTO, 27, teacher
She beams in snapshots. Her enthusiasm and cheer was evident. She was doing, those who knew her say, what she loved.
And now, Victoria Soto is being called a hero.
Though details of the 27-year-old teacher’s death remained fuzzy, her name has been invoked again and again as a portrait of selflessness and humanity among unfathomable evil. Those who knew her said they weren’t surprised by reports she shielded her first-graders from danger.
In the aftermath of a shooting like this one, police and first responders get a lot of credit, as they should. But we finds something so poignant about the teachers at the school, whose job it is to watch over these young kids when their parents can’t be there, and the compassion and love for their students that drove them to act on that day. They are heroes.
[Photo via WHDH News]