Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Teachers As Heroes

It's illuminating to see the accounts of the principal, the school psychologist, the teachers and other school staff who acted so heroically amidst the carnage and chaos caused by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary:

The superintendent, Janet Robinson, said teachers and staff members who were caught up in the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting had managed to save students’ lives with “incredible acts of heroism.” She said one teacher had helped children escape through a window. Another shoved students into a room with a kiln and held them there until the danger had passed.


 The principal, Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and the psychologist, Mary Sherlach, 56, were among the dead, law enforcement officials said, and even before the medical examiner had released the identities of the victims, others were being mourned on the Internet. The News-Times of Danbury, Conn., said other victims included Lauren Rousseau, 30, who had started as a full-time teacher in September after years of working as a substitute.


Another teacher killed, according to a Facebook post, was Victoria Soto, 27. She apparently shooed her first graders into closets and cabinets when she heard the first shots, and then, by some accounts, told the gunman the youngsters were in the gym. Her cousin, James Willsie, told ABC News that she had “put herself between the gunman and the kids.” 

“She lost her life protecting those little ones,” he said.


Terrifying new details emerged on Saturday about how teachers and school staff members scrambled to move children to safety as the massacre began. Maryann Jacob, a library clerk, said she initially herded students behind a bookcase against a wall “where they can’t be seen.” She said that spot had been chosen in practice drills for school lockdowns, but on Friday, she had to move the pupils to a storage room “because we discovered one of our doors didn’t lock.” 

Ms. Jacob said the storage room had crayons and paper that they tore up for the children to color while they waited. “They were asking what was going on,” she said. “We said: ‘We don’t know. Our job is just to be quiet.’ ” But she said that she did know, because she had called the school office and learned that the unthinkable had happened just steps away.

Reading these details, I couldn't help but wonder, will these acts of heroism be taken into account by Governor Malloy and his education reformers when they calculate the value-added measurements for these teachers?

I also couldn't help but ask myself, how many hedge fund managers/education reformers would selflessly sacrifice themselves to try and save children the way these educators did?

Most days, the media and the politicians are busy trashing teachers as lazy, greedy incompetents in need of a little "fire" to their feet to motivate them

But yesterday you saw the dedication and sacrifice and love that teachers in this country have for their students.

Even the teacher-bashing Daily News noticed.

So did the teacher-bashing NY Post.

If we lived in a country populated by people with common sense and perception, the nation would know this already and the media, politicians and the education reformers wouldn't get away with their smear tactics against teachers.

For now, we see the politicians and the media praising the selflessness and heroism of the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary.

But I guarantee you, in a couple of days, after the media moves on from Sandy Hook Elementary, as they inevitably will, we'll be back to the old narrative about lazy, incompetent, greedy teachers who need a little fire to the feet to get them motivated to do their jobs.

It'll be like the awful events at Sandy Hook Elementary and the heroism and selflessness of the teachers there never happened.


  1. Excellent post. Also liked your comments on Jersey Jazzman's blog, including: "I have long said that true education reform would mean teaching to the whole child, not just the part that takes tests." This is the heart of the battle.

    1. Unfortunately as somebody noted over at Diane Ravitch's blog, we're externalizing the tragedy. Malloy said "Evil visited this town today." No, a mentally ill individual from what seems to have been a dysfunctional home (his mom never allowed anybody in - not ever - and she was packing enough hardware to hold off a battalion of soldiers) visited Sandy Hook Elementary.

      Maybe if there had been some social and emotional learning this boy had been exposed to at school, he would have been less alienated, less isolated. Maybe he would have had some community ties.

      I don't think SEL can solve every potential problem or heal every damaged individual, but it sure would go a long way toward healing a lot of problems.

      Thanks for the comment, 3D Eye.

  2. Sure enough, our "beloved" Buffalo Newspaper here in Buffalo, NY has reignited their attacks on teachers in today's Sunday edition: