Memorial to Fallen Educators becomes National Monument
Posted on Jun 19, 2018
Emporia is home to the National Teachers Hall of Fame, honoring educators across the country who provide exemplary guidance, knowledge, and care to our youth since 1989. And it is now home to the first national memorial honoring educators who have died protecting their students.
Following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, when six educators and 20 children were killed, members of the NTHF and the Emporia community, a town deeply connected to the teaching profession, began brainstorming ways to honor the educators who lost their lives in the attack. In 2013, members of NTHF announced the creation of the Memorial to Fallen Educators, recognizing all of the American educators who have lost their lives in school tragedies stretching back to 1764 when we were still a collection of colonies.
Kansas Senator Jerry Moran and First District Congressman Roger Marshall led the efforts to pass the bill in Congress.
On April 29, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law, officially designating the Memorial to Fallen Educators as a national memorial, the first of its kind in the United States.
Located at the northwest entrance of Emporia State University, next to the One Room School Museum, the memorial is a gateway to the campus and the city of Emporia.
Massive black granite tablets stand at attention within a circular stone perimeter, inscribed with the names of more than 120 teachers, administrators, and support staff who have died protecting students from all forms of harm throughout our nation’s history.
Names and dates have been inscribed to remember educators including those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012; Chuck Poland, the school bus driver hero killed in January 2013 in Alabama; Dave Sanders who was killed at Columbine High School in April 1999; as well as teacher Robert Bailey, who was killed in Illinois in 1882; Christa McAuliffe who perished in the Challenger explosion in January 1986; and Goddard, Kansas, Principal Jim McGee, who was shot by a student in January 1985.
The memorial currently honors school staffers from pre-kindergarten through high school. Although the Memorial to Fallen Educators is a designated national memorial, it does not receive federal funding. Fundraising is underway to expand the memorial to honor higher education instructors and staff members who have died protecting students on campuses across the country.