Friday began like any other day at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with morning activities and attendance, but according to three teachers who spoke to TODAY’s Matt Lauer, it quickly turned into a nightmare.
“My kids were involved in an activity when I heard what sounded like a popping sound,” third-grade teacher Connie Sullivan explained.
“These noises came over the PA system. Now that’s not a typical thing. They sounded like weeping.”
“We were holding a parent meeting," school staffer Kris Feda explained. "Many of the leaders of the building were around the table, and we heard the first gun shots. We knew exactly they were gun shots.”
“We were hearing screaming out in the hall," Sullivan told Lauer. "We were hearing more popping sounds, and [the kids] began to get upset.”
“They said 'what is that,' and I said, ‘maybe there’s someone up on the roof getting a soccer ball,” kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer recalled.
“Immediately, the leaders in our building did what they needed to do. They ran out of the door, knowing that that gunfire was showering the hallways and the classrooms, and it just was non-stop.”
“I kept reassuring them, that they would be okay, that they were loved, that their mommies and daddies would be there soon,” Sullivan said.
“The gunshots finally stopped, we still were all in a panic, that’s when the state police arrived…they said 'you need to come out of the building, so have the children follow you, have them hold hands, have them cover their eyes,'” Vollmer explained.
“The looks on the parents faces, searching for their children, and when they reunited with their children at the firehouse, you could just see the relief pouring over them."
Despite what they – and the community – have been through, all three echoed Kris Feda’s sentiment:
“We’re going to stick together and in time, we’re going to heal.”