As we receive more and more witness details about the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut – there seems to be a detail that everyone agrees on. The teachers and administrators of the school acted heroically and certainly prevented even more senseless deaths. They remind us how important teachers are in the lives of our children.
I remember the trust I had in my teachers when I was a small child. They almost began to feel like a member of my family for the years that I was in their charge. Having been away from that environment for so long, it’s easy to forget all the roles that teachers play for children – the comfort that they bring.
When the countless stories of teachers selflessly protecting their students started pouring in, they didn’t really faze me. Logically, I know that teachers care for their students. But when you really think about the situation that these men and women were in – can you be absolutely sure that you would be as selfless as they were? These teachers acted with an amazing amount of bravery – putting there own lives after those of their students.
There is the story of the music teacher who saved the lives of 15 students by hiding them in the closet and barricading the door. Then there is first-grade teacher Kaitlyn Roig, who told ABC she rushed 15 kids into one bathroom and barricaded to the door to keep the kids safe after shooting erupted. “It was horrific,” she said. “I didn’t think we were going to live.” Then there is the story of Victoria Soto, whose final moments were spent ushering children into a closet. The Daily News reports that her cousin, Jim Wiltsie, told ABC news she was found “huddled over her children, her students, doing instinctively what she knew was the right thing.”
There were countless other teachers and administrators who kept the children calm and ushered them safely out of the school when the coast was finally clear. In theory, we realize we are entrusting teachers with the lives of our children. But it’s never been made as abundantly clear as it was yesterday. Teachers don’t just dole out lesson plans, they care for our kids. In some cases – as we saw yesterday – they put the lives of our children before their own.