Kansas memorial honors educators killed on the job

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2014 at 11:43 am •  Published: June 13, 2014
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EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Three decades ago a 14-year-old student walked into a Kansas junior high school armed with an assault rifle and started firing, killing the school's principal and wounding two teachers and a student.

On Thursday, the widow of Goddard Junior High School Principal James McGee joined educators from Newtown, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School to dedicate a memorial to educators — administrators, teachers, bus drivers and custodians alike — who have been killed while performing their duties, The Emporia Gazette (http://bit.ly/1itHeIn ) reported.

The Memorial to Fallen Educators, located next to the National Teachers Hall of Fame on the Emporia State University campus, will ensure McGee and at least 112 other educators whose lives ended on duty aren't forgotten, said Crystal McGee, who attended the dedication ceremony with two of her husband's siblings and two of his children.

"I think that is one of the hard things about loss," McGee said. "You lose somebody you love and you see the world going on. So it is important to families to know that the world did stop for a moment to remember him."

The December 2012 Sandy Hook shootings, in which six educators and 20 students were fatally shot by a 20-year-old assailant, were the motivation for the memorial, said Jennifer Baldwin, administrative assistant for the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

Staffers researched educator deaths all the way back to 1764, where they found the first documented slaying of a teacher, she said.

The 113 names on the memorial are what researchers were able to find, but there undoubtedly are more, Baldwin told The Associated Press on Friday — including two new ones that came in since Thursday's dedication.

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