Two teachers and a school psychologist were honored at a special recognition ceremony yesterday at the East Windsor Board of Education meeting for their heroism and quick actions that helped save the life of a little boy and prevent other students from being attacked by a rabid fox on Sept. 22.
Physical Education teacher Elissa Daniele pinned the fox to the ground and called for assistance. School psychologist Denise LaPre and special education teacher Justin Piwonski rushed to her aid and helped contain the fox in a recycling bin until the police arrived.
While she doesn’t consider herself a hero, Daniele said she did what any other teacher would have done.
“I did what I had to do to keep my students safe,” she said. “I love my students and would do anything for them. I am grateful that everything turned out well and that all the children were safe,” said Daniele, who has been teaching for 15 years.
The East Windsor Board of Education presented each of the educators with a plaque and plans to plant a tree near the site of the attack with a plaque to recognize their selfless actions. Board of Education members said they hope it will remind everyone about the importance of always doing the right thing and stepping in to help.
State Representative Christopher Davis thanked the educators for their quick actions that prevented further injuries to students. He presented an Official Citation of congratulations from the Connecticut General Assembly, recognizing the educators for their “brave actions and heroism.”
The East Windsor Police Department presented Daniele with the Town of East Windsor Citizen Certificate of Merit for bravery and critical action taken to prevent further injury or harm to students.
“Mrs. Daniele is a hero,” said 7-year-old Evan Witzke. “She saved me from the fox.”
The boy’s father, Craig agreed. “Mrs. Daniele is incredibly brave. The fact that she didn’t hesitate to get the fox off Evan and keep the students safe is nothing less than miraculous.”
Daniele and LaPre received injuries to their hands and arms, and along with Witzke underwent treatment for rabies.