PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Teachers may have been hit especially hard by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut.

“This is not easy,” said David Taylor, who teaches math to seventh graders at South Fayette Middle School. “The message from my administration, from my principal, is that we need to be strong for the kids.”

Despite keeping up a strong appearance, privately teachers in our area will tell you that what happened in Newtown tears them up inside.

“Teachers are in essence the protectors of those kids, and that’s how they feel about it and that’s what they’ll do,” said Butch Santicola from the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

He and Taylor applaud the acts of bravery from the teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Those teachers are heroes without a doubt,” said Taylor. “But I think every single teacher that I know personally cares about their kids just that much.”

Santicola said: “You’d like to think you’d do the same thing, but that’s a brave thing that they did, unbelievably brave.”

One example of that bravery is 27-year-old Vicki Soto.

She had ushered her students away from the door and up against a wall when the shooting began, according to CBS News. That door burst open, and she was shot and killed as she tried to shield her students.

Diane Licata’s son and others were able to run and escape.

“I know she would have done anything to protect those kids,” said Licata. “She is truly a hero, and it’s very likely because of her that our son is with us today.”

Sandy Hook Principal’s Cousin: “They Were Her Kids” (12/17/12)
More on the Conn. School Shooting

David Highfield