On Friday morning, Sandy Hook Elementary school teacher Leslie Gunn said it was a beautiful day. She was preparing to teach her fourth grade students how to work with clay and make sculptures. An art teacher at the school for 17 years, Gunn had a class of 23 students she was responsible for. Right before they began their art project, the shooting began. Leslie thought work was being done to the roof. From The Duluth News Tribune:
“It got really loud,” Gunn said. “It was too loud. Something was bad.”
Shaking, she dialed 911 frantically but was unable to get through to the police. Eventually she reached her husband.
“I told him I don’t know what is going to happen to us.”
From The Courant.com:
After she locked the doors and herded her children into a small storage room and gunshots were exploding, some of her brave boys started to cry. She could think of just one thing to say. “I love you.”
“I will never forget their faces, and they will be with me forever.”
12 girls and eight boys are gone. They will be gone forever. The reality of this is unbearable for us, for those of us who aren’t the parents of these kids, and I can’t imagine what that pain is like. I can’t imagine what the brave teachers, people like Leslie Gunn, are going through today. While she waited with the kids, having no idea what was going on outside of the storage room, Gunn comforted the children in her class.
“I told the kids something is wrong and we are just going to have to stay here,” Gunn said. “I said I love you. And you are all so brave.”
They remained in the room for about 15 minutes. They heard someone banging on the door to the classroom. When she realized it was the police she let them in and spoke to her students
“I told the kids (to) hold each other’s hands and not let go,” Gunn said.
We will read many stories like this in the upcoming weeks. We need to hear the stories of the children, of the amazingly brave adults like Leslie Gunn who protected and comforted these kids while this horrific tragedy took place. Reading about her ordeal we can feel the love she has for her students, for the kids she shielded and comforted. Stories like this help us heal. They prove to us that even in the face of undeniable evil that there is hope, that there are people in the world who opened their arms and hearts to those who needed them most.