[Ed: originally posted on Fellowship of the Minds in summer 2018; posted on this blog 2/6/2023.]
Note: This article is based on collaborative research by Anne Berg, Alison Maynard and the author. For many readers, it will be a rehash. Its value, we believe, lies in evidence that the mainstream media and other official sources effectively confused the public with contradictory reports and photographic overload, on the one hand, and photographic obscurity on the other. It appears that we are supposed to accept the official sources’ many blunders and mistakes as “human error” while remaining convinced that only establishment media are qualified interpreters and reporters of the 12-14-12 incident. ~C.
In Ian McEwan’s novel “Atonement” the rough (very rough) draft of a love letter is read by the younger sister of its intended recipient. The ensuing misinterpretations spell disaster for the writer, who is wrongfully accused and imprisoned for rape.
One misinterpreted letter can cause serious repercussions – as true in life as in art.
This is about such a letter. But in this case, the victims are the readers.
Many Sandy Hook researchers have asked why there is no surveillance footage of Adam Lanza as he blasted his way through the SHES front entrance window. From page 24 of Nobody Died at Sandy Hook:
“For example, in an era of ubiquitous video surveillance of public buildings especially no visual evidence of Lanza’s violent entry has emerged.”
Memory Hole Blog recently reposted a series of articles by James R. Hanson, an attorney with a long and distinguished record. Hanson gives as evidence for a hoax the lack of any crime scene photos. He refers specifically to a “new door camera system” installed in the fall before the alleged shooting:
“A coincidence that struggles for credence is that the new door camera system, proudly announced when installed last fall, did not record an assailant shooting through the glass entryway door and plunging inside. There is also no photograph of this door. Has it been replaced? If so, may we see the door that was in place that day? Do the school financial records show the cost of purchase and installation of a replacement?”
Wolfgang Halbig asked that same question and prepared FOIA requests to obtain work orders for the system. Ultimately, Halbig found himself the subject of organized mockery and persecution. Persistence is not treated as a virtue when it knocks on the devil’s door.
Yet, the question raised by all three of the above inquiring minds was perfectly legitimate. It was spurred, in part, by multiple mainstream media articles that describe the implementation of a front entrance security system still being tested, based on a letter said to have been written by Dawn Hochsprung herself. (Mrs. Hochsprung was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, allegedly one of Lanza’s first victims.)
A letter with a long beard. A conscientious search on the Web turns up numerous articles by news sources that mention the system installation and/or Mrs. Hochsprung’s letter, among them:
One of the earliest articles to reference Hochsprung’s letter comes from the CBS News article (posted at 7:05 p.m., 12-14-12), which reproduced it in full. See below (boldface is mine):
Dear Members of our Sandy Hook Family,
Our district will be implementing a security system in all elementary schools as part of our ongoing efforts to ensure student safety. As usual, exterior doors will be locked during the day. Every visitor will be required to ring the doorbell at the front entrance and the office staff will use a visual monitoring system to allow entry. Visitors will still be required to report directly to the office and sign in. If our office staff does not recognize you, you will be required to show identification with a picture id. Please understand that with nearly 700 students and over 1000 parents representing 500 SHS families, most parents will be asked to show identification.
Doors will be locked at approximately 9:30 a.m. Any student arriving after that time must be walked into the building and signed in at the office. Before that time our regular drop-off procedures will be in place. I encourage all parents to have their children come to school and return home on the bus and to remain in school for the entire school day. The beginning and ending of our school day are also important instructional times and therefore we want all our students to reap the benefits of full participation in our program.
We need your help and cooperation for our system to work effectively. Our office staff is handling multiple tasks. Though they will work diligently to help you into the building as quickly as possible, there may be a short delay until someone can view you on the handset and allow you to come in electronically. There are times during the day when office personnel are on the telephone, addressing student concerns, or in the copy room; there are other times when only one person is in the front office. Please help our staff by identifying yourself and provide your child’s name.
Keep in mind we will be following our district guidelines which may need revision once we test the system.
Please know your involvement continues to be critical to our school’s effectiveness and your child’s success. We continue to encourage and value your presence in our classrooms and are counting on your cooperation with the implementation of this safety initiative.
The letter contains all of the clues necessary to prove that the front entry system was not new, was not capable of surveillance, nor was it the fruit of efforts by “Mrs. Hochsprung.”
1. “700 students”: Four days before the alleged Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, during a Newtown Board of Finance meeting, a report was provided, dated October 1, 2012, with head counts for all of the schools. See below: the SHES head count is listed as 454 students.
In the State’s Attorney Report, we find on page 9, footnote #13 the following: “On December 13, 2012, the student enrollment was 489. Official attendance had not yet been recorded as of 9:30 a.m. on December 14, 2012.”
However, a CityData page provides a census of 776 students at SHES for the year 2006. A lot closer to the “700” mark. This is a big hint that the letter probably wasn’t written in 2012, but much earlier, when the SHES census was up.
2. “Visual monitoring system.” This means a camera of some sort connected to a “handset” through which people could be observed. There’s no mention of a recording device.
3. “Mrs. Hochsprung.” Dawn Hochsprung usually signed with her full name and title, as shown (from the Sandy Hook Elementary School Handbook, 2010) below. The signature line on the above letter creates the impression that it was a prefab letter generated each year as a reminder, likely in a student rulebook.
The letter was likely written in 2007 by a previous SHES principal (Donna Page). In a 2007 annual report for the Newtown Board of Education (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3-vhpZ_3PTLOHZicm9UTFhuWUE/view), an expenditure of $4,322 was made for a “front entry security” system for Sandy Hook Elementary. The same amount was invested in systems for the Hawley School and Head O’ Meadow School. This is probably the system described in the letter by “Mrs. Hochsprung.” Not a new system, but a relatively old one.
More conflicting information from official sources. Oddly, the State’s Attorney Report (p. 21, following the pagination in upper left) refers to an elderly call box installed in 2005, not 2007. It describes a “camera,” but specifies that it was only for “monitoring,” not “recording.” Convenient.
It’s clear that the letter from “Mrs. Hochsprung” was old, creating multiple misperceptions. Was it fed to the media for that purpose? A non-existent surveillance camera could distract investigators from other glaring inconsistencies and anomalies, such as the doors of Room 5. (More about that in a future article.)
Or did the media find the letter and just spring on it, possibly to make the point that even a security system is no match for a lunatic with a gun?
One thing that’s certain is that a decrepit, shuttered school doesn’t need a new surveillance or monitoring system. In fact, the absence of one facilitated what I believe was a hoax.
Another letter. We also know that Dawn Hochsprung was a real fan of security technology thanks to another (undated) letter that her friend Gerald Stomski wrote to the Connecticut School Safety Committee, apparently sometime after 12-14-12. (See “Somebody died after Sandy Hook: Gerald Stomski” for more on Mr. Stomski’s tragic death.) Here is an excerpt:
“In 2009 when I was elected as to [sic] the CEO for the Town of Woodbury, I met with then Principal Dawn Hochsprung regarding her writing a grant for security upgrades at Mitchell Elementary School. I questioned at the time, why were school administrators applying for and ultimately setting up security measures for their respected schools. Without possessing the necessary background in the fields of security and safety, I wondered if this was the most logical way of protecting our schools. Upon further investigation it was revealed to me that not only were administrators responsible for this activity, but that school maintenance workers, janitors, teachers and school administrators were responsible for these safety controls. Questionable decisions at best.
“I worked with Dawn Hochsprung on writing a successful grant and assisted her with the proper application and installations of these security controls for her school. Additionally, Dawn Hochsprung and I formed a relationship whereas we discussed on numerous occasions, what would need to be done should a shooter breach the school security, forcibly entering the school, and open firing once entered. Our discussions led to “trying to buy time” to “notify school teachers, staff and students that eminent [sic] danger was in their school”. Dawn and I even had discussions regarding “giving up your life” should it be necessary to protect her school and her children. She stated, “NOT ON MY WATCH”, would anyone be able to enter her school to conduct an act of violence against her school.”
Why settle? Given all of the above, why would Dawn Hochsprung, principal of SHES since 2010, settle for an inadequate security system for her school? Through no fault of her own, she inherited a monitoring system with no recording capability, and vintage 1956 windows that weren’t bulletproof at an entrance that was like a fishbowl. But given her proactive stance at Mitchell Elementary (Woodbury), why didn’t she follow suit at Sandy Hook?
Why settle for classroom doorknobs that locked only from the outside? Wouldn’t doorknob replacements be an expenditure that Mrs. Hochsprung would champion, given her past experience in securing security controls?
A building loaded with asbestos and black mold was bad enough. If building repairs were needed at SHES, the presence of these contaminants would have posed serious health risks. Perhaps fortunately, as we know from a Newtown school system report, the allotted budget for SHES building repairs for 2011-2012 was exactly $0.
Keyhole. To conclude, the letter signed by Mrs. Hochsprung was ultimately misleading, like the letter in “Atonement.” But the one signed by Gerald Stomski raises the questions we should have been asking all along about the doors at Sandy Hook Elementary.