Unsung Heroes #37

In the aftermath of yesterday’s threatened shooting at Staples High School, there are a host of heroes.

Among them:

  • Superintendent of schools Colleen Palmer, and her central office staff
  • Staples High School administrators and counselors, who acted quickly and decisively, after receiving information about the threat from…
  • …A student who knew exactly what to do — and had the courage to do it — upon hearing of a potential threat
  • Staples teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, cafeteria workers — you name it — who had never practiced a “shelter in place” drill, but showed calm, caring professionalism all day
  • Staples students themselves. Though worried, they listened to directions, followed them, helped each other — friends and strangers — and made a difficult day as okay as it could be
  • Westport police, who raced to Staples, worked seamlessly with educators, and helped create a sense of order, security and safety. Police also…
  • … worked with Staples’ custodial staff, to ensure that the entire sprawling building was safe

  • The school system’s transportation coordinator, and everyone at Dattco. Drivers — most of whom live out of town — came in quickly from wherever they were, and helped coordinate an orderly early dismissal
  • First selectman Jim Marpe, who worked with Palmer and Police Chief Foti Koskinas to coordinate town efforts
  • The Board of Education, who were in the loop and supportive too.

There may be others I have missed. Everyone above will probably say, “I was just doing my job.”

Of course, that’s easier said than done. All did their jobs wonderfully. They did them together, as a team — with people they’ve worked with for years, and those they’d never met.

Westport averted a tragedy yesterday. It didn’t happen by accident.

It happened because we have an amazing town.

One filled with Unsung Heroes.


25 responses to “Unsung Heroes #37

  1. I would personally love to learn the name of the young man or woman who spoke up and relayed their concerns about this student to the school authorities. He/she is the hero whose name in these situations should be known (with their approval) and praised, as opposed to the public attention often given to the perpetrator himself. I think it would be great for this student to be honored at City Hall for their bravery. He/she is a role model for others ever faced with the same situation, and should know they have the greatest gratitude and appreciation of the Staples students, parents and Westport community.

    • Probably not a good idea……

      • Agree.

      • Because…? Go ahead and say it, admit it.

        • Nancy what is wrong with you. Want the young person that alerted the authorities to be exposed. Your sick in the head. seriously

          • Not sure why I am responding, however my point is exactly that this person may be in harms way, which everyone (except for you) seems embarrassingly shy to admit.
            Do you understand now?

          • By the way, Jeff, what is “sick” is how too many people around the country tiptoe around this mess that has been created, turning a blind eye, hoping for the best. Seriously.

        • Nancy – my reasons aren’t in your head, they’re in mine.

          • Then speak them out loud, please.

            • Do you want me to “admit” what is in your head or mine?

              • Bob, I’ve always been truthful here, to my demise. Have the guts to do the same, without playing games. Too many cowards on this blog who you know by insults instead of compassion, or without at least a tad of understanding, or even the slightest bit of humor, all games I’m too tired to play.
                Dan told me to “shut up”. Done. I hope you and others will continue to speak your minds with respect for each other, and always apologize when you screw up.

                • It’s your approach Nancy….hard to speak my mind when you think you are doing it for me.
                  With that said, my reasons for “agreeing” with Dave Eason are many…

                  1. Dave Eason is a former Westport detective….I’m sure he knows more about these things than I do, so I’ll nod to his feelings on this.

                  2. There could still be an investigation going on

                  3. The person may not want to be in the spotlight

                  4. I would hope that at some point doing the right thing can be considered the norm and not heroic. I am willing to bet that all involved in preventing this don’t look at themselves as heroes (which is admirable), but rather feel proud that they and others did there jobs well and may have prevented a horror show.

                  Which brings me to this Nancy….since there weren’t any guns available here, who do you think is to blame for this behavior?

  2. Michael Calise


  3. One question I haven’t heard answered is – if a student was overheard saying he wanted to shoot someone, who was he talking to?

  4. Jennifer Frank

    Thank you Dan for putting this out there. I thought the communication to parents was extraordinary, comforting in a very frightening situation.

  5. David J. Loffredo

    There’s more to the story, otherwise the timeline doesn’t make sense. They had the kid in custody around 9am, yet still had the kids shelter in place and dismissed them early? Methinks there’s more than one individual involved, otherwise this could have been a quietly contained almost non-event.

    • As explained to the students at Staples, the reason for the delayed shelter in place was that the police only learned about the weapons in an additional home in the afternoon. The police and school officials were worried that there could be a gun unaccounted for that the student could have taken from that house, and they could not confirm that in a timely manner (I believe the other house was out of state). They wanted to establish a safety protocol just in case, which is why they activated a shelter in place and then dismissed early so the school could be searched.

      • David J. Loffredo

        Doesn’t make any sense regardless of whether or not all weapons were accounted for – they had the perp in custody – if he was the lone suspect there’s no reason to create such a mass event. There’s more than one person involved, has to be.

  6. Wholeheartedly agree. I am eternally grateful for all
    You mentioned – thank you

  7. Dave Feliciano

    Erring on the side of safety is not a fault, at least someone responded, unlike the authorities at various levels in Florida and Washington. However mental laws shelters the patients, and trumps, (no pun intended), all our safety concerns…. Sad.

  8. Today could have been horrific without these hero’s stepping up to protect the SHS community yesterday. Thank You for keeping our children safe.

    And let’s not forget Dan Woog for being the Voice of Westport and speaking on behalf of all of us parents and thanking all of those who safeguarded our children yesterday.

    Thank You
    Thank You
    Thank You

    • strongly agree with Jeb – Dan always deserves a thank you for the service he provides – free of charge – to our town.
      Speaking of “free of charge”, it’s 06880 anniversary time again. Please consider donating to keep this 06880 going. The instructions are at the top of the page when you open the blog.

  9. teachers,paraprofessionals are great people and dedicated. Thank you. I hope you are compensated fairly and appreciated by our communituy

  10. Monica McNeill

    Yes all was good! There was no mention from Reid that they were even there

    Sent from my iPad