WBUR

Sandy Hook Employees Open Up About What Happened Friday

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Connecticut State Police has released the names of the victims of Friday’s shooting in an elementary school in Newtown. Twelve girls and eight boys lost their lives — all of them first graders. All six adult victims were women. But there were survivors.

Pam Midlik, an educational assistant, has worked at Sandy Hook Elementary for 14 years. On Friday morning, she was inside her first-grade classroom when she heard a loud noise that she didn’t recognize.

“It didn’t sound like gunshots because who would ever think there were gunshots in our town?” Midlik said.

Midlik said it sounded like a roll of aluminum unfolding. And she wondered if someone was working on the roof.

“So I decided to walk up the hall to actually find out what the noise was because it was continuous,” Midlik said. “It would stop and then it would start. It would stop and start.”

In the hallway she met a father of a student. He was there to help build gingerbread houses. Then an art teacher walked by and recognized the sound.

“She said, ‘Oh my God, guns! I hear shooting.’ And so at that point I looked at the dad and I said, ‘Go back to the classroom and tell the teacher it’s a lockdown, and close the door and keep the kids safe,’ ” Midlik recalled.

A lockdown is a drill the school children practice often, where they hide behind a locked door.

“I ran back to our classroom and I told our teacher the same thing and I closed the door and turned off the lights and we got all our kids into the cubby,” Midlik said.

The cubby is an alcove inside the classroom. The children huddled on the floor together and first grade teacher Vicky Kazlauskas did her best to distract them from the sound of gunshots by reading to them.

“The intercom had gone on and we could hear the static, but also hear like noise and screams and things like that,” Midlik said. “So she kept reading to them to try to keep them occupied so they wouldn’t have to listen to anything.”

When library clerk Mary Ann Jacob heard gunshots she ran to the classroom across the hall and told the teacher to lock the room. Then she secured her group of 18 fourth graders.

“We all got down on the floor and were quiet and then we discovered that the door wouldn’t lock we had them crawl across the room to this closet area, bigger than a closet, like a storage room. We settled them down with paper and crayons and asked them to color,” Jacob said.

Eventually the police banged on the doors of both classrooms. The adults didn’t let the police in at first.

“They had someone call us and then they also put a badge under door,” Jacob said. “So that’s when we moved file cabinets and started letting the kids out to them.”

Midlik and Kazlauskas also checked before letting the officers in. Then they both walked the children out.

“We had the kids lined up in between us. I was in the back and they held onto each other’s shoulders and they closed their eyes as tight as they could, they got their way up the hallway and out as fast as they could,” Midlik said.

Midlik also averted her eyes as she walked out. Those who were inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday are still grappling with what they lived through. One reporter asked Mary Ann Jacob if her fourth graders are old enough to comprehend the tragedy.

“I can’t comprehend the tragedy that happened. Can you?”

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly identified the 20 young victims as fourth graders. They were first graders. 

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  • Shelly from MO

    They were 1st graders, not 4th!

    • John from IL

      Actually, if you read the article, the ones in the library were 4th graders. And when they asked if the person thought that 4th graders could comprehend what happened, they are asking the library clerk this question who had the 4th graders with her. So yes, they were 4th graders.

      • Trent Reznor Brown

        Lies lies lies nobody died! Just a big hoax!

    • Kraig

      Tell me lies tell me sweet little lies! But they are not sweet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1189834657 Debbie Armstrong

    Just can’t keep those lies straight can they?

    • Paceride

      Debbie, go to hell.

      • Hillary Kontur

        Agree with Debbie Armstrong! Biggest lie ever told is Sandy Crook! Disgusting that people buy this blatant lie from pathological liars! Your children didn’t die!

        • Paceride

          Go to Newtown and tell the parents their children didn’t die. What is wrong with you people? You are scum of the earth.

  • Keith Blythe

    Samdy Hoaxers making da money lying about gettin shot! Ya hoaxers are going to meet da devil and be his bitch for what y’all lied your asses off for!

  • Lyle

    The Samdy Hoax is still getting reamed down our throats by mainstream media! It’s not true and they owe the people they lied to an apology !! Hoaxers! We see your lies!

  • Lyle

    The Samdy Hoax is still getting reamed down our throats by mainstream media! It’s not true and they owe the people they lied to an apology !! Hoaxers! We see your lies!

  • Amy

    Hello,I was just curious if it is possible that the media replaced real people wiith actors because the real parents were in grief? That would explain the confusion to some of this . It was just strange to see some of the families after because they were laughing and looked happy. Maybe they were standing in for real families?

  • Amy

    Hi , it’s Amy again and I think something happened I just don’t understand why there were so many known actors at the scene? That is fact and that is what makes it look odd to people. I don’t want to doubt that people would make something up like this the actors just make it look weird.

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