The heroic actions of a teacher who was caught up in the Florida school shooting has been recognised for saving the lives of her students.
Mrs Shanthi Viswanathan, known as ‘Mrs V’ to her pupils, realised something bad was happening when a fire alarm rang our for the second time that day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Yet instead of following fire protocol, she made the students crouch on the floor and placed a piece of paper over the window of the door to ensure nobody could see inside to the classroom.
The mother of one of Mrs V’s students claimed her intuition and quick thinking helped save the lives of the students in the class.
Dawn Jarboe told the Orlando Sentinel:
She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids.
Mrs V was so intent on saving the children in the class, a SWAT team was unable to convince her to open the door as she thought it could have been a rouse for the gunman to get into the room.
According to Jarboe, Mrs V said:
Knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door.
The SWAT team had to smash through the window in order to gain entry to the classroom, according to a text sent by the child of Dawn.
The school shooting is the 18th such shooting in 2018 so far and is the eighth deadliest mass shooting in contemporary US history.
That’s 18 in 44 days. It’s the eighth school shooting to have resulted in death or injury in those seven weeks.
The shooting marks the second-greatest loss of life from a shooting at a US public school, after the 2012 massacre of 20 students and six teachers at Sandy Hook elementary in Connecticut.
It surpasses the 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, where two teenagers killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.
Authorities identified the suspect as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who’d been expelled for disciplinary reasons.
Broward County Sheriff, Scott Israel, said Cruz was believed to have one AR-15 rifle and multiple magazines in his arsenal.
Officials have not yet identified a motive for the shooting, but the teenager has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Research analysing mass shootings in 11 countries, covering the period from 2000-14, found the United States has more mass shootings – and more people cumulatively killed or injured – than Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland combined.
The emotional impact of school shootings has sparked a booming school safety industry, reports the Guardian.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year.
Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.