Secretary Duncan Hails Sandy Hook Elementary Educators – and Thanks the Nation’s Teachers, School Leaders, and School Staff

We ask a lot of our nation’s teachers, Secretary Duncan said in a video message to the educators of Sandy Hook Elementary School. “But no one could possibly ask for this kind of sacrifice,” he said of the courage shown by educators during last week’s tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

In his video message, Secretary Duncan expressed his deep gratitude to teachers, school leaders, and school administrators for the “quiet heroism” they have shown since the Sandy Hook shootings in responding to students’ concerns and seeking to restore a sense of safety and normalcy in our nation’s schools, despite their own feelings of fragility.

Secretary Duncan will visit Newtown on Wednesday, Dec. 19, to talk with Sandy Hook staff and to attend the wake of Principal Dawn Hochsprung.

Watch the Secretary’s message below, and click here to read the text.


Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

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6 Comments

  1. As a teacher, I would like to see opportunities for teachers to confidentially turn in names of children who we feel could be potential threats to other people after all other services provivided by the school district has been tried. I’ve seen parents who stuggle trying to get help and parents who deny their child needs help. Once a child’s name has been turned in the parents and child would be expected to meet with a counselor and help would be provided to the family free of cost at first and then based on the families income. If meds need to be dispensed then the school can take responsibility for this M-F. Regarding entry into schools I feel metal detectors and routine xrays of lockers is a must. Ground level windows made of bullet proof glass is a serious consideration. My last concern is morning recess and playground duty. There are never enough teachers on duty and trying to watch the children AND the perimeter area for suspecious behavior is impossible. I feel local police could watch the perimeter areas during recesses and leave the teachers (more of them) to watch the children. These are just a few ideas and I want to thank you for this invitation to share our ideas.

  2. As an educator and more importantly a human being, I would think of nothing else than protecting my students in times of danger. They are MY kids. :)

  3. SAFETY, GUN LAWS, SECURITY, MENTAL HEALTH CARE

    Open Letter to President Obama and other adults who can make a difference in gun violence, mental health and school safety.

    Regarding safety in our schools. We don’t need to debate guards and armed teachers.
    I propose a closed campus with wroght iron fencing and landscaping to make it attractive, landscaping and a separate building outside the gate for security checks and perhaps even a separate room for meetings and for parents picking up children. Before going through the locked gate onto the campus a person is given a check and ID’d. Then they are given a card that opens the gate and the outer of 2 doors at the entrance to the school with bulet proof class. The inner door would require use of the card BUT the person would also have to be buzzed in by someone who can see what the person looks like, etc. and hold the card up for viewing. The cards would be deprogrammed when used and returned to the security out building to be re-programmed when used again.
    This would make the schools safe and would be unobtrusive, not allowing guns on campus. The same could be ture of college campuses and other schools and public buildings. It would be an effort and expense worth the precious lives of innocents.
    We also need more emphasis on gun safter, stiffer controls and fines and even jail time for people who allow others to have access to or “borrow” their guns. As in the case of Adam Lanza’s mother (in the Sand Hook Shooting), had she lived, there would be a fine and jail time facing her for allowing her son to learn about, be around and have access to guns. Other measures need to be implemented too.
    Regarding mental health care, access should be easy and affordable or free and the laws need to be loosened up for easy in access and treatment for detention and committing someone for at least 30 days should they exhibit problem and potentially dangerous behaviors. People need to be more aware and not afraid of reporting people acting very strangely and a lot more.
    The solution isn’t JUST gun control, or improvement in mental health care or securing our schools but it is multifacted, starting with these things and adding ways to change to culture of violence in our country through movies, video games and more.
    I hope you will publish this and pass it along to those in authority who can do something and make these suggestions happen! Thank you.

    • As a Veteran,
      What you recommend is a School Compound that is “Secure” and that we have to check our selves or our children in and out of.

      Hmmmm this sounds and is descriptive of a fancy looking PRISON or a Secure Nursing Home……

      I recommend that you look at the Bill of Rights and get back to the FREEDOMS that OUR Veterans have fought for..
      Not put everyone in LOCK UP…..

  4. SAFETY, GUN LAWS, SECURITY, MENTAL HEALTH CARE

    Open Letter to President Obama and other adults who can make a difference in gun violence, mental health and school safety.

    Regarding saftey in our schools. We don’t need to debae guards and armed teachers.
    I propose a closed campus with wroght iron fencing and landscaping to make it attractive, landscaping and a separate building outside the gate for security checks and perhaps even a separate room for meetings and for parents picking up children. Before going through the locked gate onto the campus a person is given a check and ID’d. Then they are given a card that opens the gate and the outer of 2 doors at the entrance to the school with bulet proof class. The inner door would require use of the card BUT the person would also have to be buzzed in by someone who can see what the person looks like, etc. and hold the card up for viewing. The cards would be deprogrammed when used and returned to the security out building to be re-programmed when used again.
    This would make the schools safe and would be unobtrusive, not allowing guns on campus. The same could be ture of college campuses and other schools and public buildings. It would be an effort and expense worth the precious lives of innocents.
    We also need more emphasis on gun safter, stiffer controls and fines and even jail time for people who allow others to have access to or “borrow” their guns. As in the case of Adam Lanza’s mother (in the Sand Hook Shooting), had she lived, there would be a fine and jail time facing her for allowing her son to learn about, be around and have access to guns. Other measures need to be implemented too.
    Regarding mental health care, access should be easy and affordable or free and the laws need to be loosened up for easy in access and treatment for detention and committing someone for at least 30 days should they exhibit problem and potentially dangerous behaviors. People need to be more aware and not afraid of reporting people acting very strangely and a lot more.
    The solution isn’t JUST gun control, or improvement in mental health care or securing our schools but it is multifacted, starting with these things and adding ways to change to culture of violence in our country through movies, video games and more.
    I hope you will publish this and pass it along to those in authority who can do something and make these suggestions happen! Thank you.

  5. Secretary Duncan,

    Thank you for your kind remarks in regards to the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary School. They are tremendous human beings and our nation should be incredibly proud of the sacrifices many of them made in an effort to keep children safe. The children of this nation are lucky to have such loving and caring teachers willing to do whatever necessary to ensure the safety of their students. I just hope our country can realize this and we don’t need a tragedy in order to remind us of this fact.

    Josh Stumpenhorst
    2012 IL Teacher of the Year

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