A teacher at Stoneman Marjory High School is being praised for her quick thinking after a “Code Red” blared at the school once a shooting started on Wednesday.
Nikolas Cruz was later identified as the suspected killer. Officials said 17 teachers and students were left dead after the massacre.
But more lives could have been lost were it not for the actions Shanthi Viswanathan, who had a bad feeling even before the alert blared.
Prior to the “Code Red” a fire alarm went off and many teachers escorted their students outside classrooms.
However, Viswanathan, a math teacher, had a gut feeling something wasn’t right since it would have been the second fire alarm in one day.
So she made her Algebra II students get on the floor in the corner of the room, and rushed over to the window to cover it so no one could see in.
She also locked the door and wouldn’t let anyone in—even SWAT teams.
Parents and students are praising the teacher for what she did.
“She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Dawn Jarboe, whose son Brian was in the classroom, told the Orlando Sentinel.
When officers arrived, Viswanathan took no chances, in case it was a trick by the gunman.
“She said, ‘Knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door,’” Jarboe said.
The team ended up busting the window and entering through the opening.
Viswanathan has been rated well by her students over the years on the Rate My Teachers website, with many giving her four or five stars.
“Mrs. Viswanathan is a wonderful teacher who allowed me to expand my learning platform. She taught me with an appreciation of math in the real world. She cares about students and often stays after school to help her students with review sessions,” one student wrote. “She never spends a day without teaching and always reassures every student understands the lesson. She wants every student to succeed and always tries the hardest to make sure we all do well.”
Other teachers were also recognized for their actions, including one who hid her 19 students in a closet while the chaos erupted outside.
Marjory Stoneman is closed for the rest of the week, Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said in a message sent to students and teachers.
“We know that dealing with this act of violence will take time—and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure our students, families, and employees have the support they need. We are here for you,” he wrote. “Please continue to keep the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community in your thoughts and prayers.”