Letter from Mass. teacher to Sandy Hook teachers
This letter was written by Sarah Redman, an 8th Grade English Teacher at Holten Richmond Middle School. She's a dear friend of 7News Anchor Sarah French. The letter was published in the Bristol Press. Redman wrote this powerful letter to the teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
In 2009, Redman witnessed the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting. She was in the same position as many Sandy Hook teachers, trying to protect her children. Read her powerful letter below, as the teachers and children of Sandy Hook elementary begin classes in a new school:
Dear Sandy Hook teachers,
I am writing to simply lend my support and send my love. I am a teacher, and when I heard the news of your unfathomable loss last Friday, I was left stunned. What many people outside of education often have difficulty truly understanding, is the enormous sense of community we build within our classrooms, in the hallways, in the teachers’ room, in the office, on the playground, and in every other nook and cranny of our school building. It’s not simply a place of work; it’s our home. Schools are the most amazing and wonderful places of learning, music, laughter, amazement, wonder, friendship and family. I’m aching at the crime that was committed in the home you made for your students.
As you grieve the loss of so many magnificent lives, I want you to know that every teacher in this nation is behind you as you begin the most difficult work of your lives. Rebuilding your school community and reopening your doors for your students will not be easy. However, I know you will far exceed expectation, and the children of Sandy Hook will walk into their new home with the teachers they love standing proudly at the classroom door. You will lead them through circle time, establish the comfort of routine, puzzle their minds in math problems again, and read stories that will provide an escape from the reality of the world we live in. Their innocence may seem to be lost today, but I believe you will help them find it again. As educators we know that children are resilient. They will again giggle in the hallway, create masterpieces of art, send their excited fingers wiggling into the air when they think they have an answer, and once again they will feel safe within the walls of their school, their home. I know all of that to be true, because even though I don’t know any of you personally, you are teachers, and making the impossible possible is what you do best.
On June 10, 2009 I was in the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. with my 8th grade students when a man entered the museum and shot and fatally injured a security guard. For twenty five long minutes I was hiding in a corner of the museum, unsure of what was happening, and trying to mask my own fear for the kids in my care. We were lucky to be evacuated to safety, and all of my students were physically unharmed; however, I will never forget the sounds of terror on that day, or the look of worry in my colleagues’ eyes as we waited patiently for our “good guys”. I can only imagine what you experienced last Friday and how you maintained your professionalism in order to reassure the children in your care that they would be all right. I was fortunate enough to emerge from that building to find my principal. I am sorry that your principal will not be there to hug you, and to tell you all that she wouldn’t have expected anything other than the heroism you showed your kids, and our nation, last Friday morning. I know her spirit will be with you when you return to your school and spark a love of learning in your students again.
I send you strength and encouragement as you begin to think about nurturing your school back to health. This experience is now a part of who you are as an educator. The losses you have to bear will shape every decision you make. I know this enormous grief and loss will not be in vain, and you will show all of us your heroism again, only this time it will be with your ability to facilitate healing. Twenty tiny angels are counting on you to continue to passionately teach and inspire all of their friends, and I know you are all up to the task. I love you Sandy Hook teachers. You make me proud to be an American educator.
All the hugs in the world,
A teacher in Massachusetts