Male Teacher Saves 3 Other Teachers During Sandy Hook Shooting

Hero 19

There's been a lot of talk about the fearless heroics of the female teachers of Sandy Hook, as well as the female school principal who was shot by Adam Lanza as he first entered the building. This seems to have given rise to the wrong-headed and mistaken impression that there were no men in the school that day -- and perhaps if there were, things might have been different. In actuality, there were men in the school that day, though the exact demographic make-up of the staff hasn't been released (and is irrelevant anyway). But one of the male teachers, Ted Varga, is now being hailed as a hero too.

Varga, 25, is a fourth-grade teacher at Sandy Hook. That day, he was chatting with some colleagues, including principal Dawn Hochsprung, in a conference room when he heard shooting, stuck his head out the door, and "tasted" smoke. (Hochsprung had left a few minutes before and would encounter Lanza when he entered.)

Varga tried to lock the door to the conference room, but it wouldn't lock. So he managed to run down the smoke-filled hallway and out a fire escape exit. But realizing that there were still people inside, he made the brave decision to return to help. He says:

If we didn’t leave when we did, we would have all died. There certainly weren’t enough places for all of us to have hidden. We would have all been gunned down.

Varga ran back to the conference room he'd just escaped from and helped dislodge a wooden board on one of the windows. He and three teachers in the room then escaped through a window. Varga told the Daily News:

You hear screams and gunshots, but it is still surreal. This is an elementary school. I heard someone say, "Oh my God." And then you hear shot after shot after shot.

Varga also talks about another man in the school -- a male janitor who ran through the hallways warning everyone to stay down and telling them what was happening. "He was actually a hero," Varga said.

Varga could have stayed outside and run like hell. But he chose to go back and help his colleagues. I can't imagine the terror and confusion he was feeling, and yet he felt compelled to go back in and face the monster and risk his own life.

The idea that sexual politics -- how many men there were, how many women, who could have done what, who could have saved whom -- has a role in the shooting is absolutely shameful and absurd. There is no such thing as a feminized mass killing. In fact, given that most serial killers are men, I'd say it's more of a male problem than a female one, if you want to bring sexual politics into it.

Did you know there were also men in Sandy Hook?


Image via ABC News

crime, death, guns, in the news

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cmjaz cmjaz

I actually hadn't thought about the other teachers much. Just all so sad.

tuffy... tuffymama

I haven't seen anything pointing to the gender demographics. I just see a lot of conflicting accounts of what happened and gun-control FREAKS blathering on and on about taking my second amendment rights. It's a horrible thing that happened, but after reading initial accounts, the transcript of the dispatch tape and the official account, I'm starting to think Adam Lanza didn't do this, or didn't do this alone. It sucks that our government is so corrupt that citizens can so easily suspect the lot of them of murdering innocents to advance political agenda.

kelti... kelticmom

Seriously tuffymama? Seriously?

nonmember avatar Anna

Can you not use his photo, please?

nonmember avatar Samantha

It shouldnt be a matter of whether men or women were there. It should matter that there were adults there period who did nothing but hide the kids, rather than take that idiot down. Were saying they "laid their lives down for the childrens safety"...? Yeah not so much. Yes they did as they are trained, but NO ONE stopped him. It just happened & everyone cowered. Maybe thats a shitty opinion, but its the way i feel about it. The people who hid or escaped & left those kids to die are NOT heros just bc they got shot too. Just saying. What they did was good, im not saying it wasnt. But they sure as hell arent heros.

mleil... mleilanim

I was wondering where all the men were in this school, besides the courageous janitor. Everyone should be proud of their actions, even inactions; as both saved lives that day.

kelti... kelticmom

Ok Samantha, let's see you charge a gunman firing off multiple rounds per second and see how far you get. You disgust me.

nonmember avatar Amanda

Samantha actually 2 people did try to stop him, Dawn Hochsprung & Mary Sherlach the principal & school psychologist did try to stop him. Remember what happened? Those women were shot multiple times & murdered. With the weapons he had I doubt anyone could have stopped him unless they had major training or possible weapons of their own (&this is not advocacy of weapons in schools, just my opinion for this one incident). Stop & read news reports before you go insulting the victims of this terrible tragedy, also give thinking a chance- it may make your head hurt since it's obviously not normal to you but that's a good sign.

cmjaz cmjaz

From what I understand, two adults DID charge the gunman and died for it. Two teachers covered children with their own bodies and died for it. The teachers who got kids hidden and quiet are heros as well. There were a lot of heros that day.

linzemae linzemae

i agree with Anna. quit blasting his smug face all over the internet. 

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