The Indian teacher put her life at risk to save students.
It was a usual Wednesday afternoon, in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Broward County in Florida. Coincidentally, it was also Valentine’s Day. Shanti Vishwanathan was teaching her Algebra II class when the fire alarm went off for the second time. Suspicious at once, she instructed her students to get down, instead of letting them out of the classroom. She covered all the windows with paper so that no one could see the kids from outside, and she locked the door.
Somewhere else in the school, Nikolas Cruz, the one who sounded the fire alarm, was gunning down students with his AR 15 automatic rifle. 15 students and two staff members fell victim to the gunman, a former student of the school.
There was no motive for Mr Cruz’s actions. In the past, he had allegedly made YouTube videos, threatening to shoot up schools, but the FBI had closed the case. Now, the gunman was firing, and after finishing, he discarded his weapon, blended in with the chaotic crowd, and escaped.
Shanti Vishwanathan, locked inside the classroom with the kids, had managed to save a few precious lives. Had the kids tried making a run for it, there is a chance they would have come directly in the gunman’s line of fire.
Naturally, after a harrowing incident, Mrs V, as she is known among her students, wasn’t taking any chances. She didn’t even allow an elite SWAT team to enter the classroom. “Knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door” is what she shouted from behind closed doors, according to a mother of one of the students.
A teacher well-known for her reassuring ways, she is known to stay back after school hours, assisting students who need it. Her students have praised her teaching methods, and she is known to be hard-working.
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The Florida high school shooting caused immeasurable grief, because of the loss of lives, both young and old. Yet, this story of selflessness, provides a glimmer of relief, amidst the violence.