When an elementary school became a combat zone, Newtown’s teachers were heroes, reports CNN.
When Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, Principal Dawn Hochsprung ran toward the gun shots with school psychologist Mary Sherlach and Vice Principal Natalie Hammond. Hochsprung, 47, and Sherlach, 56, were killed.
Four teachers were killed with their students.
Victoria Soto, 27, moved her first-grade students away from the classroom door. The gunman burst in and shot her, according to the father of a surviving student.
“She would not hesitate to think to save anyone else before herself and especially children,” her mother, Donna Soto, told CNN’s Piers Morgan.
Anne Marie Murphy’s body was found in a classroom, slumped over young children killed in the shooting. The 52-year-old special education teacher was apparently attempting to shield them, her father told the newspaper Newsday.
Rachel D’Avino, 29, was a behavioral therapist who worked with autistic children. D’Avino’s boyfriend was going to propose to her on Christmas Eve.
Lauren Rousseau, 30, had dreamed of being a teacher since before she went to kindergarten herself. She had only been hired last month by Sandy Hook and was substituting for a teacher on maternity leave, when Lanza killed her.
Kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer locked her classroom door when the shots rang out. She took the children into a nook between bookcases and a wall and read them a story to keep them calm. ”We’re going to be safe,” Vollmer told them, “because we’re sitting over here and we’re all together.”
I tutor first graders in reading at a California elementary school. There’s no way to bar entrance to outsiders: Every classroom door opens to the outside. I only know a few teachers there and a few aides, but I’d bet they’d stand between a gunmen and their kids. I’ll be back there Wednesday.