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posted: 1/6/2013 5:00 AM

A note to honor teachers, principals

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You are teachers. You are principals. Kids consider you their second moms, dads, mentors. You love children and would do, what the principal and teachers did at Sandy Hook -- stand in front of a loaded gun to protect them. The shooting that Friday in December highlights the heroism of those who serve kids every day. Sandy Hook was the extreme. You, who daily walk through the schoolhouse doors, bring a commitment to kids that few outside our profession understand.

You stood at Sandy Hook that day. You stand there each day. You are the teacher who shielded her kids and the principal who charged a man with a loaded gun. You are the surviving faculty and administrators who now heal the wounded kids who witnessed the tragedy, listened to reports and viewed the horrific scenes of that Connecticut school.

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My own experience with teachers and principals teaches me that each of you would do what Dawn Hochsprung, Victoria Soto, Maryann Jacob and the host of other heroes and heroines did that Friday to protect the kids for whom they cared so deeply. Not one of you would think twice if Sandy Hook happened to be your school.

I honor you. I respect your work. I salute your everyday courage.

We know -- all of us who are working or have worked in the "trenches" of classrooms and schools -- that the care we have for kids trumps all else. We may count scores, study strategies, work to improve professionally. In the end kids learn because we care about them deeply. Sandy Hook reminds us of that.

Joanne Rooney

Former principal, District 15

Arlington Heights

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