There are heroes in classrooms.
In 2012, an insane young man who had just killed his mother breached the front of a Connecticut elementary school and started shooting. The much-loved principal who heard the shots came running out of her meeting and lunged toward the man to stop him but was fatally shot.
In the same school, a young first-grade teacher heard the shots and herded her students into a closet in the back of the room where she put herself between the shooter and her first graders. She didn’t have a chance.
Elsewhere on the campus, a teacher led 14 first graders into a bathroom, blocked the door and said to the crying children, “I love you and everything is going to be OK.” They believed her.
The staff at the school led students into a storage room and gave them paper and crayons to color in order to stay calm and quiet. They lived.
On an Ohio campus in 2002, students were having breakfast in the cafeteria when a student entered and started shooting. He killed two students and injured others. More students would have died if it weren’t for two teachers. One confronted the shooter who was pointing a gun directly at him. The kid ran away. Elsewhere, a math teacher blocked all the doors, but when he heard an injured student outside the door, he risked his life and brought his student in.
A 14-year-old boy walked into a high school class in West Virginia and held the students hostage at gunpoint in 2015. The teacher not only kept calm in the class, but talked him into not allowing newly arriving students to enter after the bell rang. Those students alerted the teacher across the hall who called for help. No one was hurt.
Yet another 14-year-old boy approached a South Carolina playground in 2016 and fired a weapon wounding a teacher and two boys, one of whom later died. The injured teacher was able to usher her students inside the building.
Just last month, a 40-year-old high school teacher in Illinois tackled a shooter as he fired off several rounds at kids eating lunch. She held him down until help arrived.
Teachers are heroes in other ways as well. In Utah in January, an AP government teacher performed CPR on a student who had stopped breathing and saved the student’s life. That teacher had saved lives at the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
In February, a teacher in a Las Vegas high school performed the Heimlich on a student who had choked on a lollipop and stick and reportedly said to her, “You’re going to be OK.” The student said she thought she was going to die but the teacher calmed her down. When the family came to thank her, they all cried and hugged.
A Spanish teacher at Laguna Beach High School performed CPR in March on a boy whose heart had stopped, saving his life.
There are untold numbers of teachers who have saved the lives of suicidal students, not to mention helped their students in so many other ways with their money, attention, intervention and, yes, love.
And there are the nosy teachers.
There was one particularly nosy teacher on a plane in August who was sitting next to a man who was texting on his smartphone. The font was reportedly very large. She noticed key words that alerted her to a possible child sex crime. She did what all teachers are taught to do; she immediately informed the authorities. The man and a woman he was communicating with are in prison now, and many kids’ lives are saved as a result.
Nosy teachers have probably stopped more crimes of abuse than any other group of people.
Thank God for nosy teachers.Thank God for teachers.
SANDY ASPER is a Newport Beach resident.