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When Tragedy Strike, Heroes Emerge. In Sandy Hook, The Educators Are The Heroes

In the wake of any tragic event, a few people are raised up as heroes.  It may be something small, like helping the people move away from the car accident. It could be the firefighter who ran back into the burning building to make sure everyone else was out.  These are the heroes we need to celebrate.

After all of theses situations, many normal people ask themselves, what would I have done in this situation?

Everyone is talking about the Sandy Hook Elementary disaster.  This was a horrific moment that millions of Americans will never forget.  I do not want to talk about gun control or mental health problems (though we still need to promote those conversations).  I want to talk about the HEROES that emerged from Sandy Hook.

The real Heroes were the educators.  All of them did what they could to protect the children.  Some even died, in an effort to protect their students from harm.

This morning the Nashua Telegraph posted an editorial that mirrors my mentality. “Newtown’s heroic educators should never be forgotten.”  The editorial highlights the stories of the brave men and women at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

• Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, were shot and killed while confronting the gunman, amid some reports that the 5-foot-2 principal was shot while lunging toward him. Both Hochsprung and Sherlach had been meeting with a parent in a conference room when they heard the initial series of “pops” and went running toward the shooter.

 • First-grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, was killed after trying to usher her students into a classroom closet. When six of the frightened students got out, Soto positioned herself between them and the gunman. None survived.

 • Special education teacher Anne Marie Murphy, 52, a 14-year veteran of the school, was found dead, holding the lifeless body of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley.

“We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died, but was wrapped in the arms of his amazing aide, Anne Marie Murphy,” the Hockley family said in a statement. “Dylan loved Mrs. Murphy so much and pointed to her picture on our refrigerator every day.”

 • Rachel D’Avino, 29, a teacher’s aide, also died protecting her students, unaware that her boyfriend intended to propose to her Christmas Eve.

 • Lauren Rousseau, 30, the sixth staff member to die in the shooting, only had been a permanent substitute teacher at the school since November, a job her mother said made it “the best year of her life.”

Then there were the many acts of bravery committed by those who were fortunate to escape with their lives. (Read more in the Nashua Telegraph)

Now ask yourself, would you have done the same thing? I would have, and I hope we all would have. Do not ever forget what these women and men did to save the hundreds of other children in this school.  These union members paid the ultimate price for their efforts to protect the children.

When the  right wing media starts to say that the union teachers are destroying our schools, you can remind them of these heroic union members who sacrificed their lives for the children.  

UPDATED to include this new video to honor the victims from AFT National.


See also American Federation of Teachers Aids In Healing After NEWTOWN Tragedy




About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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