Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis: Courage in the Classroom

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis: Courage in the Classroom

On December 14 2012, Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, was reading to her class of first-graders – when she heard the sound of gunshots and shattering glass. Thinking quickly, Katilin managed to pile her 15 students into a single bathroom stall until the shooting stopped, protecting them from the gunman in one of the most chilling massacres in recent memory.

During those events and in the intervening years, Kaitlin has set an extraordinary example of courage and kindness in the classroom. She has founded a charity, Classes4Classes, a social network connecting students and teachers across the United States, that is grounded in the idea of ‘paying if forward’.

Here, Kaitlin talks about what teachers and students can learn from each other and shares her insights on hope, resilience and generosity in the classroom.


Portrait of Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis

Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis began teaching first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2007. In 2013, while on temporary leave from teaching, she founded Classes 4 Classes, an organisation whose mission is to teach children the power of kindness and compassion through their ability to create positive change for others. Kaitlin is the author of Choosing Hope, a memoir about the days and weeks that following the Sandy Hook tragedy.