June 12, 2014
Newtown union president at dedication of Memorial to Fallen Educators: 'We are all Newtown'
EMPORIA, KAN.—Representing the American Federation of Teachers, Tom Kuroski, president of the Newtown (Conn.) Federation of Teachers spoke today at the dedication of the Memorial to Fallen Educators. Created by the National Teachers Hall of Fame, this memorial will honor and permanently recognize more than 100 U.S. educators who tragically lost their lives while fulfilling their educational duties.
The following is excerpted from Kuroski's remarks:
"In Newtown, the violence that ripped through Sandy Hook not only cost us the precious lives of students, colleagues and friends, but it also cost us our sense of security.
"For many of us, when we returned to our schools and classrooms, we felt insecure about fulfilling our most sacred duty: teaching and nurturing our students while keeping them safe. Schools have always been places of sanctuary and centers of our communities. Yet in recent years, we have seen multiple tragedies at schools across the country—more than half of the fallen educators included in this memorial died during the past 14 years. And just this week, the tragedy at Reynolds High School in Oregon – the 74th school shooting since Sandy Hook – once again reminds us that school safety is an issue that must be addressed.
"My hope and my prayer is that this memorial will help to inspire local, state and national leaders to make school safety a top priority—and ensure that no other community, no other school, no other teacher, no other school support personnel, no other administrator, no other student, no other parent, has to go through what we went through on Dec. 14, 2012, and continue to go through each and every day. We are all Newtown."
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.