Most teachers hear a fire alarm and instinctually send their kids out of the classroom, but Shanthi Viswanathan’s decision to barricade her students inside probably saved their lives.
When Viswanathan, a math teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, heard a second fire alarm in one day, the Sun-Sentinel reported she knew something was wrong.
She instructed students to get on the floor in the corner of the classroom and put paper over the window in the door so no one could see into it.
When the shooter was subdued and the SWAT team arrived to clear the classroom, they instructed Viswanathan to open the door. However, without knowing her students faced guaranteed safety on the other side of the door, she refused.
— India West (@IndiaWest) February 16, 2018
To ensure it wasn’t a gunman trying to trick her, Dawn Jarboe, whose son, Brian, was in the classroom, revealed Viswanathan said, “Knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door.”
A text from Brian confirmed that the SWAT team did exactly what Viswanathan said — they took down the door.
“She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Jarboe told the Sun-Sentinel.
Her intuition proved to be right, and a law enforcement source told CNN that they believe the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, pulled the fire alarm to bring people into the hallway and increase casualties.
Seventeen people were killed, including multiple educators who gave their lives to save students.