The Sandy Hook School library was a hotbed of activity for both students and faculty alike. As such, there is plenty of evidence that shows the area in use between 2008 – the year con men such as James Fetzer falsely claim the school was closed – and 2012. Some of this evidence has already been shared and discussed in earlier entries. For example, when children’s author Patricia Polacco visited the school on September 15th, 2011 (covered in “Sandy Hook Elementary Was Open”, parts six and seven), she signed copies of her books in the library, as seen in this photograph from the 2011-2012 Scrapbook:
Note that both Mrs. Polacco and school principal Dawn Hochsprung are both wearing the very same outfits seen in the following Polaroid (also taken in the library – note the SMART Board used as a backdrop), posted to Mrs. Polacco’s Facebook page on June 15th, 2016:
Also included in Sandy Hook Elementary Was Open, Part Seven is this photo from April 26th, 2012, showing Sandy Hook School students using the library’s SMART Technologies system (which includes a Unifi projector unavailable in 2008) to Skype with children’s author and illustrator Tomie DePaola:
Originally shared in my entry on Dawn Hochsprung’s Twitter feed, this photograph shows the school’s teachers participating in an “Appy Hour” on the morning of December 4th, 2012:
30 Sandy Hook teachers gather for an early morning Appy Hour… sharing the best iPad apps for our classrooms! pic.twitter.com/4PvvXpUY
— Dawn Hochsprung (@DHochsprung) December 4, 2012
In addition to Twitter’s timestamping (which I suppose is only reliable when making uneducated claims alleging foreknowledge of the shooting), there are a couple of items actually located within Mrs. Hochsprung’s photograph which would make it impossible for it to have been taken in 2008: first of all – as seen in the Tomie DePaola photo above – there’s the Unifi projector at the heart of the presentation, again commercially unavailable in 2008. Then of course there are the iPads, the very first of which was not released until April of 2010.
There’s further evidence in this second photo of the same event, published in the December 7th, 2012 edition of The Newtown Bee:
If you look on the rear wall, you’ll see a poster for “Dying To Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road)” by Kate Klise, which was not released until 2010.
According to “Kindles Now Available For Checkout At Sandy Hook School”, published in the December 16th, 2011 edition of The Newtown Bee, Sandy Hook’s library became the very first in the district to loan Amazon Kindle e-readers out to their students (although the program was limited to fourth grade students). The article included the following photograph:
“Sandy Hook School fourth graders, from left, Colton Procaccini, Henry Wishneski, Devin O’Connell, and Emmanuel Wilford were the first students to take out Amazon Kindles from their school’s library on Monday, December 12.”
A little less than a month later, on January 10th, 2012, the Danbury News Times also wrote about the school’s Kindle trailblazing program. In addition to a quote from principal Dawn Hochsprung, the article – titled “Kindle Program Ignites Reading” – also includes three images taken from inside the library. One of these photos clearly shows that the Kindles in use at Sandy Hook at the third generation Kindles, otherwise known as the “Kindle Keyboard”:
The “Kindle Keyboard” first shipped in August of 2010. As such, it could not have possibly been photographed in 2008. So do these nitwits really expect anyone in their right mind to believe that a group of random children were marched into the abandoned-yet-somehow-still-fully-furnished-and-stocked Sandy Hook library in order to pose with a handful of Kindles a full two years after it was closed due – according to them – “asbestos contamination”? All for the benefit of a couple of quick write-ups in local papers? How does even a single sane person buy into this nonsense? It’s preposterous.
While they lack the physical evidence found in the preceding material, the following photographs can be confirmed (via published dates or photographic metadata) as having been taken in the Sandy Hook library at various points between September of 2010 and February of 2011.
There were some big changes throughout the Newtown school system leading up to the 2010 school year. Among them, veteran educator Dawn Hochsprung replaced the retiring Donna Page as principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Hochsprung’s experience is highlighted in the an article published by The Danbury News Times on June 14th, 2010 (“Newtown Hires Two New Elementary Principals”):
Hochsprung, a Woodbury resident, comes to Newtown with 12 years of administrative experience, half of which was spent as an assistant principal in the Danbury school system, according to a press release from Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson.
Hochsprung worked at Rogers Park Middle School from 1998 to 2003 and at Danbury High School in 2003-04.
She comes to Newtown after spending three years as principal at Mitchell Elementary School in Region 14. Before that, she was principal of Bethlehem Elementary School from 2004 to 2007.
She received a bachelor’s degree in special education from Central Connecticut State University in 1993, a master’s in special education from Southern Connecticut State University in 1997, and a sixth-year degree in educational leadership from Southern in 1998.
Dawn Hochsprung’s interview in front of Newtown’s Board of Education is discussed in the minutes for the Board’s June 8th, 2010 meeting:
MOTION: Mr. Hart moved to go into executive session to interview the candidates for the elementary principal positions and invited Dr. Robinson and Christopher Geissler and Dawn Hochsprung individually for the purpose of interviewing for the Sandy Hook School principal and Middle Gate School principal. Mr. Lagana seconded. Vote: 5 ayes
Item 2 – Executive Session
The Board left executive session at 9:58 p.m.
Item 3 – Public Session
MOTION: Mr. Hart moved that the Board of Education appoint Christopher Geissler as Middle Gate School principal to begin on or about July 1, 2010 with a salary per the administrators’ contract. Mr. Lagana seconded. Vote: 5 ayes
MOTION: Mr. Lagana move that the Board of Education appoint Dawn Hochsprung as Sandy Hook School principal on or about July 1, 2010 with a salary per the Administrators’ contract. Mr. Hart seconded. Vote: 5 ayes
You can also find a PDF of the meeting minutes online here.
Shortly after Mrs. Hochsprung was officially hired, Sandy Hook assistant principal, Barbara Gasparine, left the school to become the principal of Head O’ Meadow. From a July 14th, 2010 article published on The Newtown Patch (“Sandy Hook School’s Assistant Principal Named To Top Post At Head O’ Meadow”):
Barbara Gasparine, a Woodbridge resident who has served as assistant principal at Sandy Hook School for the past three years, has been appointed principal of Head O’Meadow School following Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
The minutes from this Board of Education meeting, which took place on July 13th, 2010, can be found online here. Here is the relevant portion:
Another article from The Newtown Patch – “Newtown Welcomes 3 New Elementary Principals”, published on September 12th, 2010 – outlines some of the district’s changes and profiles a few of the new additions, including Dawn Hochsprung:
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, Sandy Hook School
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung and new assistant principal Jenn Sinal spent time during the first week mixing and mingling in the Sandy Hook School cafeteria, making the most of every opportunity to get to know the students, and in turn become familiar faces at the school.
Hochsprung describes the SHS students as “enthusiastic and happy to be here.”
She said she is enjoying the opportunity to learn about Newtown and specifically the Sandy Hook community, since she previously lived and worked in Woodbury.
The school secretary, Joanne Didonato, “is a huge support in helping me to navigate my new environment,” Hochsprung said in an e-mail. “She has a wealth of information about our community and families.”
While many teachers would wait for the new administrator to set expectations, Hochsprung said she has been impressed with the high standards of teaching and learning.
“These sentiments were solidified for me when one of our grade-level teams said to me after our first professional development, ‘We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got.'” Hochsprung said.
The Newtown Patch article also includes the following photo of Hochsprung and new assistant principal, Jennifer Sinal, posing in the school library:
The addition of Jennifer Sinal was also new for 2010 (that’s a lot of new hires for an abandoned school, don’t you think?), and is discussed in an article from the September 10th, 2010 edition of The Newtown Bee (“Jennifer Sinal Named Sandy Hook School Assistant Principal”):
“As an administrator over the summer I got to see a little bit more of that,” she said. “There is something very special about making it happen, but there is also something very special about creating a culture where it is encouraged to happen. This school is a fantastic school. It has a wonderful reputation, and I know that I am going to learn a lot here.”
Assistant Superintendent Linda Gejda and Ms Gellis, Ms Sinal said, both helped to cultivate her administrative career. Everyone, including new Sandy Hook School Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, has been wonderful since Ms Sinal began her position, and she said her door is open if anyone wishes to visit her.
Included with the article is the following photo of Ms. Sinal, also taken in the school library (notice that her hair and clothing are different, indicating these two photos were taken on different days):
That’s two photographs and four articles from three different established sources (The Danbury News Times, The Newtown Bee, and The Newtown Patch) documenting staffing changes at an obviously open and active elementary school. Stack those up against the precisely zero articles from zero established sources that Fetzer and Halbig have presented in order to prove their claim that the school was closed.
And yet there’s still more. From an article titled “Sandy Hook School Student Book Club Begins With ‘No Talking'”, published on May 7th, 2010:
“Students who attended the first meeting of Sandy Hook School’s new book discussion group talked about No Talking by Andrew Clements with library/media specialist Bev Bjorklund, left, and second grade teacher Dawn Ford, right, in the school’s library on Friday, April 30.”
“Sandy Hook School Students Learn About Chinese Culture”, published in the February 11th, 2011 edition of The Newtown Bee:
“Sandy Hook School parent volunteer Wan Huffman taught students about mythological animals from Chinese culture on Friday, February 4.”
“Sandy Hook School first grader Bear Nikitchyuk created a “dragon that bites” after learning about mythological animals in Chinese culture.”
Finally, in November of 2012, Katherine Mauro provided an inside look at the school and in particularly its library for a college class assignment. Her detailed site visit (which includes photos) describes an active, organized, and advanced library, full of busy students. Katherine says of the library:
I have never seen a Library Media Center run so smoothly, with such excitement, respect and collaboration.
All of this would certainly be very strange for a school that had been closed for four whole years.
For more in the “Sandy Hook Elementary Was Open” series, please read:
Part One: The Lobby
Part Two: The Obstinate Pen
Part Three: Holiday Decorations And Calendars
Part Four: SMART Technologies
Part Five: Dawn Hochsprung’s Twitter Feed
Part Six: The 2011-2012 Scrapbook
Part Seven: Children’s Authors Visit Sandy Hook
Part Eight: Charitable Causes
Part Nine: The Library
Part Ten: 92 More Photos From Sandy Hook School
Part Eleven: 180 Articles Referencing Sandy Hook School, Written Between 2008-2012
Part Twelve: The Glass Display Cases
Part Thirteen: Google Earth
Part Fourteen: The November 2012 Scholastic Book Fair
Part Fifteen: Sandy Hook School Enrollment For 2008-2017