NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The mother of one of the 26 victims of last December's massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School wished the country's educators "courage, faith and love" Friday as they start a new school year.
Nelba Marquez-Green's 6-year-old daughter Ana Grace was killed by Adam Lanza during his Dec. 14, 2012, shooting spree. She also has a son who was at the school at the time of the shooting and was uninjured.
In her letter published on the Education Week website, Marquez-Green relayed how much the teachers at Sandy Hook impressed her by coming back to work after the tragedy.
"While I pray you will never find yourself in the position of the teachers at Sandy Hook, your courage will support students like my son, who have lived through traumas no child should have to," she wrote.
She said the teachers also will have an impact on students who are "left out and overlooked, like the isolated young man who killed my daughter."
"At some point he was a young, impressionable student, often sitting all alone at school," she wrote. "You will have kids facing long odds for whom your smile, your encouraging word, and your willingness to go the extra mile will provide the comfort and security they need to try again tomorrow."
Marquez-Greene said the only letter of the 15,000 she received after the shooting that she keeps at her bedside is one from her own high school English teacher.
"Real heroes don't wear capes," she wrote. "They work in America's schools."