An Indian-American teacher has been praised for her quick thinking that helped save a number of lives during the Florida school shooting on February 14 that claimed 17 lives.
Shanthi Viswanathan, a Mathematics teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, locked the doors of her classroom immediately after the alarm inside the school rang for the second time that day. She kept the windows closed and made her students crouch on the floor.
“She was quick on her feet and used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Dawn Jarboe, mother of one of Viswanathan’s students, told Sun-Sentinel. She did not open the door even when a member of the SWAT team knocked on it asking her to open it, as she thought the gunman was trying to trick her in order to get inside the room.
The kids and the teacher came out only after the SWAT team entered the classroom through the window and convinced them to leave the room.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, has confessed to carrying out Wednesday’s attack and he has been charged with 17 counts of murder. The FBI had earlier received a tip regarding Cruz, who once posted online that he wanted to become a professional school shooter. But the investigating agency failed to act on the tip.
Wednesday’s tragedy has re-ignited debates on the need for more gun control, with even students participating in the debate.
On Friday, students of South Broward High School gathered on the street to urge politicians to address the issue of gun control.
“I want to end gun violence,” Sara Rodriguez told HuffPost, adding that she thinks adults have failed her generation. “They don’t pay attention to our voice and we’re really tired of staying silent,” she said. “We are the future. We’re trying to make it but we can’t do it if they’re not listening.”
Shane Dale, 14, said “Nobody needs an AR-15 rifle (the shooter’s weapon of choice) for hunting. We need to get rid of assault rifles overall.”