U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will be in Newtown on Wednesday to talk with staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School and attend the wake of Principal Hochsprung.
This morning, he posted a message on the U.S. Department of Education Web site about the local staff and teachers, as well as the impact the tragedy has had on those who educate nationwide.
“At this time of unbearable grief over the senseless slaughter of 20 first graders and six school staff members, I want to take a moment to thank the many extraordinary educators school leaders and school principals who protected the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Duncan said. “Words cannot do justice to the courage of Dawn Hochsprung, Mary Sherlach, Lauren Rousseau, Victoria Soto, Anne Marie Murphy and Rachel D’Avino. They made the ultimate sacrifice, literally laying down their lives to protect the children they taught and cared for. “
Had it not been for their quick and courageous response, even more people might have died, he said.
“Across the nation, the care and concern that teachers show for children is second only to the love of a parent. No profession is more deserving of our respect,” Duncan said. “We ask so much of our teachers, principals, and school staff. But no one could possibly ask for this kind of sacrifice.”
Duncan acknowledged that educators and school staff might be feeling fragile and nervous about their own safety.
“So I am extraordinarily grateful to our nation's teachers, school staff members, principals, and district leaders for the courage and caring they showed in the first few days back to school after the shootings. It is you who have done the hard work of caring for students. It is you who have fostered a sense of normalcy and safety, and let students express their concerns and emotions and fears,” Duncan said.
You can watch the full message here.
“The Department of Education’s first priority is to help the Newtown community cope in the aftermath of this horrific event. In the days and weeks ahead, we will work with state and local officials, as well as Congress, to do everything in our power to help Newtown begin the long process of recovery,” Duncan wrote in a post online about resources for schools to prepare for and recover from a crisis.