Shanthi Viswanathan shut the doors and windows of the classroom and asked her students to crouch on the floor.
An Indian American math teacher is making headlines after her presence of mind saved the lives of many students during the shooting spree in a Florida school that left 17 children dead.
Shanthi Viswanathan was in her algebra classroom of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, when she heard the second fire alarm.
She shut the doors and windows of the classroom, and asked her students to crouch on the floor, thus keeping them safe from the shooter’s sight, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
According to the students present in the classroom, their teacher covered the windows with white paper making it seem like the classroom was empty, shielding the students from one of the worst school shootings in the US history.
“She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Dawn Jarboe, the mother of one of Viswanathan’s students, told the Sun-Sentinel.
Viswanathan reportedly kept the doors closed even after the SWAT team arrived as she feared that the attacker might be acting as security agent.
“Knock it down or open it with a key. I am not opening the door,” Viswanathan told the SWAT team that finally broke the windows to clear the students.
The shooting was unleashed by a former student named Nikolas Cruz, who indiscriminately fired students in the campus, killing 17. Even though he managed to escape from the school in the ensuing confusion, police took him into custody after 40 minutes.
Police are yet to identify the motive of the shooting but reports suggest that Cruz had a troubled childhood and had posted a video on youtube in which he threatens to shoot schools.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, which has a total Indian population of 22,600.