STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) — The mayor of a city near Newtown, Conn., on Monday proposed naming a school after Victoria Soto, a teacher who was killed in last month's elementary school massacre and hailed as a hero.
Soto, a 27-year-old resident of Stratford, was killed as she tried to shield her students from the gunman inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. The shooter killed 20 children and six women at the school on Dec. 14 before committing suicide.
"In the days since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, the stories of bravery and heroism by Stratford's own Victoria Soto have been both heart-wrenching and abundant," Stratford Mayor John Harkins said. "She gave her life protecting children, and we must make sure her sacrifice is never forgotten."
Some of the children from Soto's classroom escaped harm, and there have been reports that Soto hid some of her students from the approaching gunman.
Harkins said he had met with Soto's family and discussed how the town could honor her memory.
Construction is scheduled next summer on a new elementary school in Stratford, and Harkins said he wants it named for Soto. The name must be approved by the town council, which is expected to take up the matter at a Jan. 14 meeting. The mayor said his proposal has been met with overwhelming support and he does not anticipate objections.
Harkins said he also hopes to include a memorial to Soto, possibly including a statue, and her family would be involved in the design. He said a fund will be set up to accept donations from people who want to contribute to the memorial.
A petition also has been started to rename a street in Stratford after Soto, and members of her 2003 Stratford High School class have started a scholarship fund in her name.