Newtown, CT – First grade teacher Kaitlin Roig of Sandy Hook Elementary didn’t think she and her students were going to survive. She made sure to tell her first-graders, hiding in the school’s restroom, that she loved each and every one of them, just in case it was the last thing they ever heard.
Roig told ABC News that because her classroom had such large windows, she knew that she needed to get her 1st grade class to a safer location. She rushed all 15 students into the bathroom as the gunfire started at Sandy Hook Elementary Friday morning. “I just knew we had to get in there, I was just telling them it’s going to be all OK, you’re going to be all right,” she said.
Hers was the first classroom to evacuate into the hallway. She pulled a bookshelf in front of the bathroom door and barricaded herself inside with her 15 1st grade students, reports The Blaze.
“I told them we had to be absolutely quiet,” Roig said. “Because I was so afraid that if he did come in, he would hear us and he would just start shooting the door. I said there are bad guys out there now, and now we have to wait for the good guys.”
Roig said that if one of her students started crying, she would hold their face in her hands and tell them that everything was going to be alright. One of the students told her that they didn’t want to die, and just wanted to have Christmas. Another just wanted a hug from mom.
“I said to them, I need you to know that I love you all very much and it’s going to be OK, because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear,” Roig said. “I wanted that to be the last things they heard, not the gunfire in the hallway.”
Roig told her students that they wouldn’t be going anywhere, even after the gunfire stopped. Police eventually showed up, and Roig demanded proof that they were who they said they were, lest they be lured out by the gunman.
“I said don’t believe you, I said you need to put your badges under the door, so they put their badges under the door,” she said. “I said if you’re really a police officer you would have a way in here, you would have a key…so he had the keys and he found the right one.”
Sandy Hook Elementary School is fortunate to have teachers like Kaitlin Roig, who along with many others, kept their students calm and comforted, heroically intervening to protect their children from Adam Lanza, who killed 20 children and seven adults yesterday. In the wake of the Connecticut shooting massacre, let’s focus not on the killer, but the heroes like Kaitlin Roig.