In the midst of the devastating news regarding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings there comes a story of shining courage.
Kaitlin Roig is a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook. I don’t know her, but her story lmakes me want to applaud, or better yet, stand up and cheer. When she heard the gunfire erupting in the halls of her school, she managed to get all fifteen of her tiny students into the class bathroom. She locked the door and barricaded it with a movable storage unit. “If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them ‘It’s going to be OK’. I wanted that to be the last thing they heard, not the gunfire in the hall,” I watched as she relayed the events on the television news this morning. She also barricaded the door with a storage unit. When the police arrived, she even had the presence of mind, in the middle of a living nightmare, to not believe the people on the other side of the door really were the police until they put their badges under the door. If whoever was out there was not the police but the gunman, she was not going to risk the children’s lives.
Thanks to this brave woman’s actions, she and all fifteen of her students walked out of Sandy Hook Elementary alive.
The story is making its way around the world today – and well it should. There is no need for me to reiterate how horrific the rest of this story is. Its details are already too well known to us all, with the whole idea of a crazed school gunman targeting babies so young that they still believed in Santa Claus, and at Christmastime, tearing us all to shreds. Yet hearing about an ancillary event like this somehow manages to turn the evil that was done yesterday on its head. The rest of the scenario is certainly as dark as it gets, but this decent woman’s cool head in the midst of pure chaos managed to work a miracle. The Talmud says that whoever saves a single life saves the world entire. Kaitlin Roig saved fifteen children. That’s the world entire – multiplied fifteen times. Those fifteen little ones will be able to grow up, bring joy to their families, have children of their own, go to high school and college, begin their careers, and get a chance to make a difference. Twenty or thirty years from now, how many children will have been born to these fifteen babies that were saved by this one level-headed, clear-thinking, stunningly brave teacher? Words alone can’t ever don’t do this good woman’s deeds justice. Brava, Kaitlin Roig! No one will ever be able to say that these rescued children lacked a decent adult role model. They had one of the best on the planet. I hope all fifteen of Kaitlin Roig’s students grow up to be as amazing as she is!