The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT that left 27 dead is historically one of the worst massive school shootings of our time, second only to Virginia Tech. The Governor of CT says “evil visited this community today.” Parents, family, friends, and people all over the world are grieving this overwhelming tragedy in a way that will never be forgotten.
As additional details emerge, it becomes harder and harder to hear, but it is certain that these teachers should be remembered as heroes. We are told that when teachers heard the gun fires, they bravely stood up, and protected their students in the corners of the classroom. Six adults were killed in this senseless murder, one of which was Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung.
In an article dated Friday, Dec. 14, PEOPLE reports that Dawn was deeply loved by the students and staff, and was a committed educator. The gunman started his rampage in her office where she had come out of a meeting. She died trying to protect the students she loved, and her scream was heard over the PA system. Upon hearing the sound of the gun shot that killed her, teachers knew that evil had entered the building, and took immediate precautions.
“She was really nice and very fun, but she was also very much a tough lady in the right sort of sense,” Tom Prunty, a friend whose niece goes to Sandy Hook and was uninjured Friday, told CNN.
“She was the kind of person you’d want to be educating your kids. And the kids loved her.”
PEOPLE also reported that Hochsprung was avidly committed to school safety. In fact, she had recently installed a visual monitoring system on the campus. Visitors had to wait to be let in after the school doors locked at 9:30 am (which is the time in which the shooting occurred this morning). They would then have to sign in at the main office. She wrote a letter to parents explaining the process of the new system, and encouraged that this would be for the great good of the school.
“I don’t think you could find a more positive place to bring students to every day,” she told the Newtown Bee when she was first hired.
Numerous residents of the community and parents stood up to speak highly of her, and mentioned that they weren’t surprised about her bravery.
She was known as enthusiastic and a joy to her students as she was always smiling, and very into school spirit.
And a dad of triplets who attend the school says of Hochsprung: “Every year she’d do a sock-hop at the school, and she’d dress up in hoop skirts and bobby socks. She really got into it. She was so great with the kids. They loved her. It does not surprise me at all she’d do something heroic.”
Dawn who was hired in 2010 had two daughters, and three stepdaughters.